Minnesota Governor Walz Appeals Enbridge Pipeline Again
The much-battled Line 3 pipeline is headed back to the Minnesota Court of Appeals for review. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has asked for another review of the project that would replace an existing pipeline that carries 31.92 million gallons of oil every day from Alberta, Canada to the Enbridge terminal located in Superior, Wisconsin. The appeal comes with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's approval.
According to news sources, this appeal comes as the agency and the administration question the companies long-range forecasts:
"[They] argue the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission erred in granting the proposed pipeline's certificate of need in February because Enbridge did not introduce a long-range demand forecast and that the PUC had shifted "the burden of proof from Enbridge to the Department (of Commerce) and others to show that demand for product transmitted by Line 3 would decrease during the forecast period". The agency has argued in the past that Enbridge instead submitted a pipeline utilization forecast that assumed demand would continue at 2016 refinery capacity."
The appeal comes after a May request was denied by the Minnesota Pubic Utilities Commission. That request would have allowed parties that were opposed to the pipeline the opportunity to petition the Court of Appeals to review the project. There had also been a timeline full of previous appeals and petitions - dating back to November 2018.
This new petition for review will be held August 24 through August 28, with a final report to be delivered on October 26. These dates have created a need to shift the timeline for any future project. News sources say that "[the] hearing will put the pipeline's 401 certification, a permit awarded by a state's regulators if the project's impact on water falls within the state's standards, in front of an administrative law judge to examine additional evidence and testimony on the project. Federal agencies cannot issue a federal permit or license without a state approving the 401 certification. The MPCA has said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers extended its deadline for the 401 certification until Nov. 14, pushing it beyond 2020's prime construction season."