Energy transmission firm Enbridge was on Thursday given the green light to replace its Line 3 oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.
The Canadian company was granted a certificate of need by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in a unanimous vote.
It will see the replacement of Enbridge's existing and deteriorating 282-mile pipeline that cuts a path across northern Minnesota.
The PUC made some slight alterations to the 350-plus mile replacement pipeline in its decision on Thursday, shifting the line further away from Big Sandy Lake because of its importance to Ojibwe bands.
Irrespective, tribal leaders and environmentalists have decried the decision by the PUC, opposing the continued transmission of oil from Canadian tar sands, and fearing for the potential impact of any spill on the region's lakes and wild rice waters.
Several tribal members demonstrated outside the PUC offices on Thursday, and vowed to continue opposing the pipeline work as the development moves forward.