MINNEAPOLIS (WNN) – Enbridge announced Wednesday that construction on the upgrade of its Line 3 crude oil pipeline in Minnesota is “substantially complete” and that the company will begin filling it with oil Friday.
The Canadian-based company’s president and CEO, El Monaco, said in a statement that the pipeline “will soon provide the low-cost and reliable energy that people depend on every day.”
The project was completed despite strong opposition from tribes, environmentalists and others who argued that the 1,097-mile (1,765-kilometre) pipeline – which includes a 337-mile (542-kilometre) section in Minnesota – would violate treaty rights, worsen climate change and spread the risk In the water where Native Americans harvested wild rice. He noted that it would take oil from Alberta’s tar sands, a heavy crude oil that consumes more energy and generates more carbon dioxide in the refining process than light oil, making it an even bigger contributor to climate change. gives.
Leo Golden, Enbridge’s vice president in charge of the project, said the main remaining works are cleanup and restoration along the route. He said that some parts have already been fully restored and native grass is growing on them. But construction mats still need to be removed from the wetlands and other clean-up work will continue until next summer.
“We’re not reinstating until we go to the landlords and we walk into the land with them and they say, ‘Yeah, your job’s done’ and sign,” Golden said.
Golden said he doesn’t expect to get a final signal from landlords along the route until next summer.
Groups opposing the project were preparing a statement. More than 900 people have been arrested or ticketed in protests on the route since construction began in December.
Enbridge said the project was necessary to replace a deteriorating pipeline built in the 1960s that could carry only half of its original volume of oil, and to ensure reliable deliveries of crude to US refineries. Enbridge expects to begin running the pipeline at its full capacity of 760,000 barrels per day in mid-October.
Line 3 begins in Alberta, Canada, and clips a corner of North Dakota before crossing Minnesota on its way to the terminal at Enbridge in Superior, Wisconsin. The Canadian, North Dakota and Wisconsin sections were already finished and the Canadian and Wisconsin legs are already in service. He said the line filling process has begun in North Dakota on Friday.
Opponents have challenged the permit for the pipeline in court to no avail so far. He has also unsuccessfully tried to persuade President Joe Biden, who revoked a major permit for the Keystone XL pipeline shortly after taking office, to intervene.
The legal options of the opposition going forward are disappearing. A challenge is still pending in federal court for a permit granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, but that case did not block construction. Opponents can still ask the state’s Supreme Court to review the clean water certification granted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
In addition, a novel “rights to nature” lawsuit is pending in White Earth Ojibwe tribal court. It names Manomin – the Ojibwe word for wild rice – as one of the Wadi. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has asked a federal appeals court to stop that case.