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Enbridge received a set of permits from Minnesota regulators that will 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 MPCA has used sound science and thorough analysis to ensure that necessary safeguards are in place to protect Minnesota's waters. The 401 certification requires Enbridge to meet Minnesota's extensive water quality standards instead of lower federal standards," said Laura Bishop, MPCA Commissioner.
"Thousands of Minnesotans provided valuable comments that strengthened the 401 certification and the rigorous review during the contested case hearing validated the proposed stream and wetland crossing safeguards. The result is a certification and permits that are strong, enforceable, and protective," she added.
The $2.6-billion project plans to replace Enbridge's existing 282 miles of 34-inch pipeline with 337 miles of 36-inch pipe. The new Line 3 would have the capacity to move 370,000 barrels of oil per day, alleviating the takeaway capacity constraints that Canadian oil producers have been struggling with for years now. Line 3 is one of two pipeline projects in the works that are—in their unfinished state—keeping Canada's oil industry from reaching its potential.
Line 3 has faced numerous legal challenges and has been approved and disapproved several times over. The latest round of permits would bring the project closer to fruition, but opposition from environmentalists and Native American communities will continue.
"The science is clear that Line 3 would threaten Minnesota's clean water and set back our state's progress on climate at a time when we can least afford it," Margaret Levin from the Sierra Club said in a statement following the news from the MPCA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which also granted Enbridge a set of permits for the Line 23 project.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.