Minnesota Supreme Court Deals Blow to Opponents of Line 3 Pipeline

Minnesota Supreme Court Deals Blow to Opponents of Line 3 Pipeline

  • Opponents of the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement have been dealt a blow by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
  • In a one-page opinion, the court announced it would be declining to take up the challenges made by tribal and environmental groups against the pipeline.
  • Honor the Earth, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and Friends of the Headwaters had called for further review into the environmental impact statement (EIS) approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
  • The PUC had been ordered by the Minnesota Court of Appeals to fix one element of the EIS, which failed to look sufficiently at the impact of a possible oil spill in the Lake Superior watershed, but the court otherwise upheld the rest of the statement.

Opponents had appealed this decision, saying the environmental review also failed to sufficiently address the oil pipeline’s impact on climate change and the potential harm on tribal and cultural resources.

With the Supreme Court’s declining to hear the challenge, the PUC has an opportunity to fix the original flaw in the EIS, removing one of the roadblocks to the pipeline’s eventual replacement.

Enbridge will still require more permits before it can fully go ahead with the project, but the Tuesday decision is another significant step to achieving its aim of replacing the aging pipeline, which will carry crude oil from Canada across the north of Minnesota to a refinery in Superior, Wisconsin.

To keep up on pipeline related news, check the Submar blog regularly.