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Enbridge is starting construction on the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement in Minnesota after receiving all necessary approvals and permits, the pipeline operator said this week, while indigenous groups continue to seek to delay or stop the works with lawsuits.
“With all of the permits in hand, we can now start construction,” Vern Yu, Enbridge Executive Vice President and President of Liquid Pipelines, said in a statement.
Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project will replace the existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota, and 14 miles in Wisconsin. The average annual capacity of Line 3 after replacement is planned to be 760,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Last month, Enbridge received a set of permits from Minnesota regulators that would allow it to push ahead with its Line 3 replacement project, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said.
The agency noted it had placed stringent environmental protection conditions on the permits.
The US Army Corps of Engineers also announced approvals of federal permits for the project a week later.
Line 3 is one of the hopes for Canada’s oil producers to have crude oil takeaway capacity out of Alberta increased, and possibly one of the best chances for this, considering that Joe Biden could move to kill Keystone XL, the project that was resurrected by U.S. President Donald Trump.
While Enbridge is starting construction, indigenous groups are looking to delay the project again, filing various lawsuits to challenge the permits.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the White Earth Band asked last week the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to stay its approval of pipeline construction while the Minnesota Court of Appeals considers the challenges to the permits. Minnesota’s PUC is set to consider the request on Friday, Star Tribune reported. Another lawsuit was filed this week to challenge Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s stormwater permit for the pipeline replacement project.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com