Multiple Bids to Stop Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Rejected

By Maddy McCarty, Digital Editor

A federal judge and the Minnesota Court of Appeals both within the span of a week rejected attempts by tribal and environmental groups to stop construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Sunday decided not to grant a preliminary injunction that would have halted construction on the pipeline, noting the groups failed to prove any permanent harm would come from the work, AP reported.

Earthjustice, an environmental organization, is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — on behalf of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Honor the Earth, and the Sierra Club — arguing the federal agency illegally approved a water permit without considering environmental impacts, like the risk of oil spills, according to an Earthjustice news release.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week rejected another shutdown request from the tribes, which argued construction would destroy land protected by treaty agreements and violate cultural and religious rights, the AP report states.

Line 3 is a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline that stretches from Alberta to Wisconsin, according to Enbridge. It was built in the 1960s and Enbridge wants to replace it to maintain safety standards, reduce future maintenance and create fewer disruptions to the landowners and environment, the company says.

The $2.9 billion U.S. portion of the project would replace 337 miles in Minnesota, 14 miles in Wisconsin and 13 miles in North Dakota, according to Enbridge. The Wisconsin and North Dakota portions are complete, and Enbridge began construction in Minnesota in December.

The project is expected to provide about 8,600 jobs in Minnesota over a two-year period.

“We’re disappointed with the court’s decision,” said Earthjustice Attorney Moneen Nasmith in the news release. “But we will continue to press our case that the Army Corps violated the law and failed to fulfill its responsibilities in granting the permit.”

The news release criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for allowing the pipeline project to continue, calling the cancellation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline “a big win” but “just the tip of the iceberg.”

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