The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear environmental and tribal challenges to Enbridge Inc’s Line 3 oil pipeline, a decision that removes one potential obstacle for the already-delayed project.
The ruling means the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), the state regulator that approved the Line 3 project last year, will not have to consider additional environmental issues.
Line 3 is part of Enbridge’s Mainline network that transports western Canadian oil to Midwest refineries. The replacement project would double current capacity to 760,000 barrels per day, providing much-needed relief from congestion on existing Canadian pipelines.
Pipelines carrying Canadian oil have for years fallen short of meeting demand due to delays of Line 3, the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain and TC Energy Corp’s Keystone XL.
Line 3 was meant to be in service by the end of this year but has been delayed until the second half of 2020 because of issues with permitting.
The American Petroleum Institute welcomed the court’s decision. Erin Roth, executive director of API Minnesota, said the MPUC will now be able to move forward with Line 3’s environmental impact statement, and provide “guidance on the remaining process and timeline to complete the project, which is the most studied pipeline project in state history.”
In June, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the Public Utilities Commission had failed to address how an oil spill from the line would affect Lake Superior within the project’s environmental impact statement.