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MN court says PUC didn't weigh oil spill impact in Line 3 pipeline decision

Jun 03, 2019 11:51AM ● By Editor
Construction vehicles transport a new section of pipeline to where it will reside in the ground south of Superior, Wis. Photo:  Derek Montgomery for MPR News 2017

By Dan Kraker from Minnesota Public Radio News - June 3, 2019

In a victory for Line 3 oil pipeline opponents, the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday reversed the state Public Utilities Commission's approval of the Line 3 environmental review, saying it didn't address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed.

Last year, the PUC approved Enbridge Energy's plan to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline, which has been transporting oil across northern Minnesota from Alberta, Canada, since the 1960s.

But after two environmental groups and three Minnesota Ojibwe bands appealed that decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the PUC's approval "because it does not address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed."

The ruling now sends the environmental impact statement back to the PUC. It also throws into question the PUC's approval of a certificate of need and route for the pipeline last June, because the findings of the now-rejected environmental impact statement factored significantly into both. 

Enbridge Energy could appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

The new pipeline would replace one Enbridge's five lines that carry oil across northern Minnesota. It has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups, tribal groups and some tribal governments and climate change activists.

To read more of the original article and read related reporting, follow this link to the MPR website.

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