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Opponents of Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline project are demanding that construction of the pipeline is stopped, the Associated Press has reported, saying the group alleged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to take into consideration several environmental factors when it issued Enbridge a water quality permit for the project.
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.
Now, two Ojibwe bands from Minnesota and two environmental groups have filed a suit against the pipeline operator at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, demanding a preliminary injunction to suspend construction of the new pipeline. According to the claimants, the Army Corps of Engineers violated several federal laws with the issuance of the permit, and this is causing irreparable harm.
The permit in question, according to the AP report, concerns the discharge of dredged and filled material into U.S. waters during the construction of the pipeline. Yet, the claimants have focused on the risk of oil spills after the pipeline goes into operation, noting this risk is heightened with the heavy crude it will transport as it tends to sink in water rather than float.
Last month, Enbridge received a set of permits from Minnesota regulators that allowed the construction of the pipeline to begin in the northern part of the state.
"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, at the time.
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.