Minnesota PUC votes to restart Enbridge Line 3 pipeline review process

Minnesota utility regulators have unfrozen the approval process for Enbridge Energy's plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across the state.

The Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to direct the state Commerce Department to conduct a further environmental review on the potential effects of spills in the Lake Superior watershed, which is required by an appeals court order, and report back within 60 days.

The decision represents forward motion after a long delay while legal challenges by environmental and tribal groups played out in court. 

Once the revised environmental review is completed, there will be a public comment period before the commission decides whether the update is adequate and whether to reissue key approvals for the project. And further legal challenges from opponents are possible.