Last week, Minnesota regulators approved key permits for the Line 3 Pipeline replacement, leaving environmental and Indigenous leaders outraged. They have called on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to block any construction on the project.
These approvals from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Department of Natural Resources clear the way for the long-delayed $2.6 billion project to begin construction.
Environmental and Indigenous groups say this construction threatens the water where Native Americans harvest wild rice and also would be a factor in increasing climate change.
According to Wtop News, Line 3 — which runs from Alberta across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin — was built in the 1960s, but it’s deteriorating and can run at only about half its original capacity. Enbridge says replacing it will allow it to move oil more safely while creating 4,200 construction jobs and generating millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues. The updated sections in Canada, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are already operating. But the Minnesota segment has been working its way through regulatory agencies and the courts for six years.
“Line 3 is facing multiple court challenges by Native nations, grassroots groups, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This decision means that Enbridge may launch construction while the overall need and legality of the pipeline are being fought in court, including by a state agency. There is a good chance that courts will find the pipeline was approved illegally. It’s just common sense, then, to demand that the state immediately halt Enbridge’s progress toward construction while those important legal challenges play out,” says Andy Pearson, MN350’s Midwest tar sands coordinator.
The permits come less than a week after major news outlets called the presidential contest for President-elect Joe Biden. Though he has faced calls from campaigners to go even further, Biden has still put forth climate action plans that dramatically contrast with the pro-corporate polluter agenda of President Donald Trump, reports Common Dreams.