ALJ report clears the way for Line 3 permitting decision
October 16, 2020
We are extremely pleased that the Administrative Law Judge report was positive on all counts and clears the way for the permitting decision. The ALJ’s report confirms that Enbridge and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have identified the best and most prudent method for each stream crossing, identified and counted the full acreage of wetlands, and correctly determined the best protections for wetlands and waterbodies. This is another important step forward on the path to begin construction of a replacement line that will use improved technology to enhance safety and environmental protections.
In his report, Judge James LaFave recognizes the agencies charged with reviewing the Line 3 plans as experts in their fields. LaFave writes that the Commissioner appropriately used her discretion to define and limit the issues for review in the contested case hearing. And that while the joint petitioners bear the burden of proving “by a preponderance of the evidence, that the facts forming the basis for the MPCA’s decisions in the five issues under consideration are erroneous. The Joint Petitioners have not met that burden.”
This frames a decision to come from the MPCA commissioner which will in turn support the Nov. 14, 2020 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ deadline for the 401 Water Quality Certificate permit.
Based on field survey data collected over 6 years and 120,000 hours in the field, the Line 3 Replacement Project was designed and will be built to minimize impacts to wetlands and waterbodies. We have developed plans and procedures, including an Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) that detail best management practices and measures that will mitigate all construction impacts.
Enbridge continues to work with permitting agencies for the timely issuance of remaining permits in order for construction to start before year end 2020.
This project is poised to provide significant economic benefits for counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members. Line 3 is a shovel-ready, US$2.6-billion private investment that will bring 4,200 family-sustaining construction jobs, millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues at a time when Northern Minnesota needs it most.