Enbridge's proposed Line 3 replacement project requires two approvals from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) - a certificate of need (CN) and a route permit. Enbridge applied to the Commission for these approvals in April 2015.
The Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be prepared for major governmental actions that have the potential for creating significant environmental impacts. To fulfill its MEPA responsibilities, the Commission has authorized the preparation of an EIS that addresses Enbridge's CN and route permit applications. The Commission has authorized Commerce's Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) staff to prepare the EIS, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The EIS will be issued in draft form, a draft EIS, so that it can be improved through public comment. A final EIS will be developed based on comments received on the draft EIS.
Upon completion of the final EIS, public hearings will be held in the project area. The hearings will be presided over by an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the Office of Administrative Hearings. The hearings will address Enbridge's CN and route permit applications. At the public hearings, citizens will have an opportunity to submit comments, present evidence, and ask questions. After completion of the hearings, the ALJ will submit a report to the Commission with findings of facts, conclusions of law, and recommendations regarding a CN and route permit for the project. Decisions by the Commission on Enbridge's CN and route permit applications are anticipated in the spring of 2018.