MPCA pauses draft permits for Line 3 pipeline, waiting for new environmental impact statement

The latest map for the proposed replacement for the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline. (Photo credit: Enbridge Energy)

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the State Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday they will not release draft permits for Enbridge Energy’s proposed Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota until a better environmental impact statement is approved, as ordered by the court.  

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled the environmental impact statement for the Line 3 pipeline project, which would replace the existing one built in 1968, was inadequate because it did not address the possibility of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed. The decision reversed the one made by state utility regulators. 

In a joint statement, both agencies said they will not take final action on the pending license and permit applications until the Public Utilities Commission addresses the deficiency in the environmental impact statement identified by the court. 

The MPCA was supposed to release draft permits and the 401 water quality certification on July 1. 

The proposed pipeline will run from Canada to Superior, Wisconsin through several northern Minnesota counties.