A key permit for Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals removing a potential delay for the controversial project.
The court on Monday affirmed a Certificate of Need and Routing Permit granted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
The pipeline, which will carry Canadian oil-sands crude from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, has faced fierce opposition.
Canada’s oil sands producers have struggled for years with a shortage of export conduits as projects to build new ones face increasing scrutiny from courts and regulators.
Enbridge’s replacement of Line 3 with a larger capacity pipeline that can transport 760,000 barrels of oil a day is “on track” to go into operation in the fourth quarter of this year, the Calgary-based company said in an emailed statement. The pipeline is complete in Canada, Wisconsin and North Dakota, and 60% complete in Minnesota.
“The decision is not unexpected,” Juli Kellner, an Enbridge spokeswoman. “Line 3 has passed every test through six years of regulatory and permitting review.”
Environmental group Sierra Club said the court’s Line 3 decision was “deeply disappointing.”
The Canadian pipeline giant is also facing opposition to its Line 5 pipeline, which crosses the Great Lakes along the bed of the Straits of Mackinac.
The company wants to make the pipeline more secure by building a tunnel under the lake bed, but Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the line shut. Enbridge has appealed that decision, and the case is now in court-ordered mediation.
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