Minnesota to Move Forward with Disputed Oil Pipeline

Minnesota to Move Forward with Disputed Oil Pipeline

Minnesota regulators approved the final permit this week for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement across northern Minnesota, giving the company the green light to begin construction on the $2.6 billion project.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency granted a construction storm water permit for the project, which was the last hurdle that Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge needed to clear after years of reviews and court battles. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the independent Minnesota Public Utilities Commission gave their final approvals last week.

“This project has had the most extensive review in Minnesota history,” Gov. Tim Walz told reporters. He said his position all along has been that the state needed to follow the regulatory process, the law, and the science.

The company and its supporters welcomed the decision, but opponents have vowed to keep up their fight.

“Construction can now begin,” Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner said in a statement that didn’t specify when that would happen.

But Enbridge has signaled that the start could be imminent. The company notified landowners along the route via letters earlier in the month that it expected construction to “start on approximately November 30.” The company has previously said it expected the work to take about nine months.