Environmental impact statement for Line 3 pipeline 'inadequate,' appeals court rules

It's a setback for pipeline company Enbridge.
Author:
Publish date:
Enbridge

The proposed route of the Enbridge pipeline.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that the environmental impact statement into the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline across Minnesota is inadequate.

In an opinion released Monday, the court ruled that the EIS is "inadequate because it does not address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed."

As a result of the ruling, the court has reversed the decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which had found the statement to be acceptable.

A legal challenge had been brought by environmental groups and tribal bands on whose land the replacement pipeline would bisect.

However, the appeals court did reject "most" of the arguments made by the groups, with the Lake Superior watershed but one area where the judges agreed.

The sticking point came in the seven different models presented in the EIS that looks into the potential impact of a crude oil spill.

The court noted that none of the sites looked at for these spill models were in the Lake Superior watershed.

"Throughout the environmental-review process, environmental organizations and members of the public raised concerns about the impact of an oil spill on Lake Superior and its watershed, including the St. Louis River Estuary," the court opinion said.

"In spite of these persistent concerns, neither the [EIS[] nor the responses to comments directly address the failure to analyze potential impacts of an oil spill on Lake Superior and its watershed."

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

The Star Tribune reports that having to redo the EIS could take "months," providing another potential delay to the long-planned project.

In a statement, Enbridge said the EIS approved by the PUC was the "most extensive ... study of a pipeline project in state history."

It'll now consult with the PUC and the State of Minnesota about the next step.

Frank Bibeau, the attorney for Honor the Earth, one of the groups that challenges the EIS, said: "Honor the Earth commends the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling today, as [the EIS] blatantly ignored any impacts to four major water bodies in northern Minnesota.

"The Husky refinery fire made them realize that an oil spill release into our waterways was much more real than hypothetical. The ruling will allow adequate time for the PUC and Minnesota Department of Commerce to fix those deficiencies in the FEIS."

Less concerned is House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, a long-time supporter of the project, who said it's positive that the court found against most of the arguments made by environmental and tribal groups.

"It's encouraging that the court rejected nearly all of the challenges brought by environmental groups who oppose this pipeline and the thousands of jobs that come with it," he said.

"Replacing aging infrastructure is the right thing to do for Minnesota; it's good our economy, it will grow jobs, and it will enhance environmental protection. This ruling should not change that, and should not stop this important project.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related

MN Supreme Court deals blow to opponents of Line 3 pipeline

The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge against the project.

enbridge line 3

Minnesota DNR grants 2 approvals for Line 3 pipeline

The Enbridge pipeline replacement project would replace a crude oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.

Minnesota regulators approve Enbridge pipeline

They altered the pipeline's route, but only slightly.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 1.31.42 PM

Enbridge gets final approval to start construction on Line 3 replacement

The project has attracted criticism from environmental and tribal groups.

enbridge line 3

Complaint argues that Line 3 pipeline replacement is no longer needed

Honor the Earth filed the petition with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday.

Enbridge pushes Line 3 pipeline project timeline back by a year

It had hoped to have the line in service by the end of 2019.

Gov. Tim Walz to continue appeal to block Enbridge oil pipeline

The appeal was originally launched by the Dayton administration.

Pipeline opponents ride the proposed route on horseback

A final review of the Enbridge project comes out Thursday