Judge James LaFave upheld the draft water quality certificate that Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued to Enbridge in February, quashing challenges by activist groups and indigenous bands that had raised concerns regarding Enbridge’s intentions to protect streams and wetlands the pipeline crosses.
Line 3, built in the 1960s, carries less oil than it was designed for because of age and corrosion. Replacing it would allow the company to boost flow from a Canadian oil hub in Edmonton, Alberta, to Midwest refiners.
The report said the petitioners have failed to prove that the agency and Enbridge “undercounted the full acreage of wetlands that will be physically altered by trenching.”
A shortage of pipelines has weakened Canadian oil prices in recent years, but capacity became ample this year after deep oil production cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said on Friday it continues to work with permitting agencies for the timely issuance of remaining permits in order for construction to start before year end 2020.