MN Department Of Commerce Pushes Back Release Of Enbridge Line 3 Review
Updated: April 4th at 10:41 AM to include a statement by Enbridge Energy
The release date of an environmental review draft for the proposed Line 3 pipeline project has been pushed back by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. In a letter filed on Monday by the State of Minnesota, the draft was scheduled for a public release on April 3, but the department now anticipates the draft to be ready on May 15, according to a press release.
Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership has applied for a certificate of need and a route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to construct and operate the proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement project. At the direction of the Public Utilities Commission, the Minnesota Commerce Department is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
“The proposed Line 3 project presents significant issues,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, in a press release. “Additional time allows the department to prepare a thorough draft environmental impact statement that provides effective, meaningful public review and comment. The Public Utilities Commission has an important decision to make for Minnesota, and the Commerce Department is committed to providing the best information possible for them to use in the decision-making process.”
Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline was constructed in the 1960’s and put into service in 1968. The company is looking to replace the entire 1,097 miles of existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. While Enbridge has proposed that certain parts of the route could overlap with the existing pipeline, a large portion of the company’s preferred route would be on new land – a point of contention with environmental advocates – as investigated by Lakeland News here and here.
“Enbridge is disappointed to learn that the Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC) will delay the issuance of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Line 3 Replacement Project by six weeks,” read a statement by Enbridge. “Enbridge is equally concerned with the DOC letter filed today in which DOC notes that it ‘…anticipates issuance of the DEIS on May 15, 2017.’ The letter is devoid of any rationale for the cause of the delay or how the DOC intends to avoid similar delays in the future.”
Rothman said the additional time will be used for consultation with tribal governments, additional information gathering, coordination with stakeholders, and technical analysis and review.
The DOC says a release of the draft EIS will be followed by a public comment period, including a minimum of 22 public information meetings, one in each county through which a route is proposed. The meetings will provide the opportunity for public participation and comment to inform the final EIS, which will be used by the Public Utilities Commission to decide on Enbridge’s certificate of need and route permit applications.
Additional information and documents in these proceedings are available on the Commission’s eDockets website. The Certificate of Need filings can be found in Docket PL-9/CN-14-916 and the Pipeline Permit filings in Docket PL-9/PPL-15-137.