Equilibrium & Sustainability

Canadian firm says controversial Line 3 pipeline will be operational Friday

(KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian company Enbridge Inc. on Wednesday announced that it has “substantially” completed the replacement Line 3 segment of its pipeline in Minnesota, with Friday as the projected operational date.

“Line 3 was developed and executed with the most state-of-the-art approach to design, construction and environmental management,” Enbridge President and CEO Al Monaco said in a statement. “We’re also very proud of the relationship of trust we’ve built with communities along the right-of-way in both Canada and the United States. Our goal is to continuously live up to the trust that all of our stakeholders have placed in us.”

The Justice Department in 2016 entered a consent decree requiring the replacement of the pipeline segment, which had substantially corroded since its construction in 1968.

The pipeline has been the subject of intense opposition from local conservation and Indigenous groups. Opponents have said it presents an unacceptable environmental risk, in the form of the carbon-heavy tar sands oil it will carry as well as the disruption of local habitats and waters.

In addition to groundwater, local Indigenous people have said the segment will threaten lands they rely on for hunting and wild rice cultivation.

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, a spokesperson for the Indigenous Environmental Network said the pipeline’s opponents will continue their work.

“It’s with a heavy heart we receive the news that the U.S. has tragically failed once again to honor our treaties and protect the water that sustains all life on Mother Earth,” Jennifer Falcon said. “The Line 3 fight is far from over, it has just shifted gears. Do not think we are going quietly into the night, we will continue to stand on the frontlines until every last tar sands pipeline is shut down and Indigenous communities are no longer targeted but our right to consent or denial is respected.”

More than 900 people have been arrested in protests at the site since construction began at the end of 2020. Activists have frequently called on President Biden, who revoked permits for the Keystone XL pipeline in January, to do the same for both Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, the administration has not taken action to halt either. 

Other opponents of the segment include members of the “squad” of progressive House Democrats, several of whom visited Minneapolis and the site of the pipeline earlier in September to call for its shutdown.

“The voices of indigenous people are often not prioritized … we want this issue to be elevated and for it to be important enough for the president to take action,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in a press conference.

The State Department of Commerce and activists both argued in court for the segment to be shut down, saying Enbridge did not sufficiently demonstrate the demand for the oil the pipeline would carry. However, in June an appeals court ruled in favor of the regulators who approved the segment, saying the corrosion of the existing line made it a safety issue.

Updated 12:11 p.m.

Tags Canada Enbridge Inc. Ilhan Omar Joe Biden Minnesota pipeline

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