Environmental Review Draft Of Proposed Enbridge Oil Pipeline Released
A nearly two thousand page environmental review of a proposed Enbridge Energy oil pipeline was released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce on Monday.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement is broken down into 13 chapters, 17 appendices and two technical assessments.
“[The public] can just read the executive summary if they want to or they can go to specific chapters, they don’t necessarily have to download the whole file,” said Ross Corson, the communications director for the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The DOC used the concerns it received during the public commenting period, as well as information from Enbridge, in order to create the draft.
Enbridge says it needs to replace Line 3, instead of repeatedly fixing the nearly 60-year-old line.
“The increase in our maintenance program has an impact on the land owners who lands we cross to access the pipeline,” said Laura Kennett, the asset integrity supervisor for Enbridge.
The draft EIS took this into account and, in part, looked at the impact on putting the new line in an existing trench. Enbridge says 98% of its preferred route from the Canadian border to its terminal in Clearbrook, Minnesota, would be adjacent to an existing pipeline corridor. However, this would drastically change as the line heads to Superior, Wisconsin.
“Much of the construction work space overlaps with previously disturbed areas that were used previously for pipeline construction,” said Bobby Hahn, an Enbridge environmental projects supervisor.
But a large majority of the document released today focused on the potential for a large and small scale spills. James Reents says he’s concerned about what that could mean on a waterfront property like his.
“The Line 3, if developed we would have pipelines to the south of our property, and if any of those leak, the potential would affect our property values,” said Reents, a Hackensack Resident.
Reents is petitioning to become one of the parties to be able to provide testimony, question other parties like Enbridge, and comment on the draft directly in front of an administrative law judge. An administrative law judge is needed during this type of large scale project.
“I don’t think that we can risk the waters of the state for [this] kind of enterprise,” said Reents.
For Jordan Morgan, a Bemidji resident, he says he’s most concerned about the long term effects on the climate that this project could have.
“My generation we’re going to have to deal with those ramifications our entire lives,” said Morgan, who is also petitioning to become a party with the Youth Climate Intervenors.
While becoming a party in the proceedings is a long term commitment, the public can comment on the draft during 22 public meetings throughout June. The public commenting period will close on July 10.
“It’s really the best opportunity for land owners or average citizens who have a stake in this project to have their concerns heard,” said Morgan.
After the new comments are collected, a final draft will be issued and more public comments will be made on it. The administrative law judge will then issue a report with the findings of fact with a recommendation. That would be sent to the Public Utilities Commission, which would make a final decision on Enbridge’s Certificate of Need and a Routing Permit, which are needed to build the pipeline.