The Potluck

Enbridge begins construction of Line 3 while opponents file suit

By: - December 2, 2020 11:33 am

Jessica Garraway sings a version of “Wade in the Water” as people protest against the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline project outside the governor’s mansion on November 14, 2020 in St Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images.

Opponents of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement filed a lawsuit challenging the action on the very same day that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved the last permit needed to begin construction.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune reports that the company has already started construction. 

The lawsuit, filed with the Court of Appeals Monday evening, raised concerns over MPCA’s consideration of climate and tribal impacts, as well as risks to the state’s wetlands and water quality. 

Petitioners of the suit included the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Headwaters and Honor the Earth. 

Some big questions need to be asked: What if the Appeals Court sides against Enbridge in the legal cases before it? What if the new Biden administration squashes this pipeline? What is Enbridge’s plan if its workforce gets coronavirus?” said Winona LaDuke, co-founder and Executive Director of Honor the Earth. 

LaDuke was among 12 of the 17 MPCA environmental advisory group members who resigned earlier this month in response to the pipeline’s approval, according to the Bemidji Pioneer.

Opponents point out that the pipeline’s construction could pose health risks to nearby communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing in additional workers. Minnesota is already nearing hospital capacities and is reporting the fifth-highest number of new cases per capita. 

Enbridge says the new pipeline will be safer than either rail or the aging pipeline it is replacing.

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Dylan Miettinen
Dylan Miettinen

Dylan Miettinen is a Reformer intern. A fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota, he was born and raised in Omaha, Neb. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. He's also worked for CNN, the Minnesota Media and Publishing Association and the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast.