Minnesota Department of Commerce to File Appeal over Enbridge Pipeline with Minnesota Court of Appeals
The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced this week that it filed an appeal in response the state utility regulator’s approval of the new Enbridge Energy Pipeline, “Line 3,” this week. The Department of Commerce says that its appeal is based on the argument that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission erred in granting Enbridge a certificate of need for the pipeline. A certificate of need establishes that the project, in this case the pipeline, is in the best interest of the state. The Department of Commerce said that, because Enbridge had not introduced a long-term demand forecast, the Public Utilities Commission did not have sufficient information to grant a certificate of need.
The legal battle surrounding Line 3 has been in ongoing since 2014, when the project was first announced. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission first approved the certificate of need and route permit for the pipeline in 2018. Since that approval, a number of parties have challenged the permit in court, including the Department of Commerce, environmental groups, and Northern Minnesota Native American tribes.
Each of the challenges to the pipeline’s approval were dismissed after the court ordered a revision to the pipeline’s environmental review. The Public Utilities Commission then reaffirmed its support for the pipeline earlier this year, giving the Department of Commerce until Wednesday, August 19, to file its appeal.
The Department of Commerce, and Governor Walz, have stated that this appeal process is consistent with previous actions the Department of Commerce has taken regarding the pipeline and that these appeals ensure proper research and precautions are taken. Enbridge still needs permits from Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency, Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in addition to this contested permit in order to continue the project.
An administrative law judge is scheduled to begin the week-long hearing on the permit on Monday, August 24.