Northern Water Alliance Update on Sandpiper Pipeline

Late Summer Pipeline Updates

James Reents, Pipeline Work Group Coordinator

August, 2016

Sandpiper Pipeline Construction:  The Sandpiper Pipeline has been ‘put on hold’ for now.  The Enbridge Corporation released Marathon Oil from their commitment to partner on that Minnesota project. Enbridge and Marathon are now investing in the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs from North Dakota to Illinois but avoids Minnesota.  Enbridge has not pulled their filing for that route which would signal finality to the Sandpiper Project.

The NEW Line 3:  Enbridge proposes to locate the New Line 3 along the route they mapped for the Sandpiper Pipeline. This is a route that threatens so many lakes, rivers, aquifers and wild rice beds. This is the route to which the Northern Water Alliance network partners are strongly opposed.  

The Department of Commerce just filed a letter with the MN Public Utilities Commission (8-26-2016) stating that it is putting its Line 3 Replacement and the Sandpiper Environmental Impact Statement scoping efforts on hold until Enbridge makes its intentions regarding these pipelines clear. Their schedule was to provide these documents in September and October this year. Until Enbridge responds to this letter or the Commission gives further direction to the Department of Commerce, we will not know next steps on these lines.

Pipeline Abandonment:  Enbridge does NOT want to replace their current aging Line 3 Pipeline in its current location. It was constructed in the ‘60’s. They have stated that there are over 900 “anomalies”, or leaks, in that line. They also propose to abandon the old Line 3 Pipeline where it lies with no removal or remediation. This old Line 3 is currently in an energy corridor that was established in the 1950’s. The International Approval to cross from Canada to the US was done in 1963. At that time, there were no processes established for Environmental Reviews or Assessments on pipeline construction. The Northern Water Alliance of is advocating for Federal Review of that border crossing, closing down the current Line 3 totally, and removal and remediation of the Line 3 site at the corporation’s expense.

[The Northern Water Alliance of MN is an initiative of the Leech Lake Watershed Foundation.]

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