Minnesota Governor Appeals Enbridge Line 3 Regulator Approval

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s administration petitioned a state appellate court on Wednesday in a bid to reverse a public utilities regulator’s authorization of a pipeline project by Enbridge. 

Line 3 construction. Photo: Enbridge

In yet another challenge by Walz to Enbridge’s Line 3 project, the Minnesota Department of Commerce sued the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in the state’s Court of Appeals for rejecting its call to reconsider the regulator’s issuance of two authorizations required for the project in May.

Waltz argued that the authorization should have been denied because demand for the crude oil the pipeline carries is decreasing.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that labor unions have criticized the appeal for further complicating the project, which would be one of the largest construction projects in recent Minnesota history.  ​

“We are frustrated because we feel this is a distraction from all kinds of other work that really needs to be done,” Kevin Pranis, of the Minnesota and North Dakota Laborers’ union, told the newspaper.

The project would be the largest in company history with a combined cost of nearly $7 billion between the Canadian and U.S. portions of the project.

The $2.9-billion U.S. portion of the Line 3 Replacement Program, known as the Line 3 Replacement Project, consists of replacing existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 miles in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin portion was completed in 2018.

On May 1, the PUC reissued the project's Certificate of Need and Route Permit for Minnesota and the company is working with the appropriate authorities to secure permits and approvals at the federal, state and local levels before the start of construction.

Replacing Line 3 would allow Enbridge to double its capacity to 760,000 barrels per day.

— P&GJ staff and wire services report.

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