The much-litigated Line 3 oil pipeline project from Enbridge is one step closer to construction, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved on Monday the final federal permit for it.
Line 3 project, that would replace crude oil pipeline across Minnesota, “is based on sound science and strikes the balance between protecting natural resources and allowing reasonable development,” Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the St. Paul District, said in a statement.
He also added that the project is aligned with all federal laws and regulations; that the decision from his institution was taken over an exhaustive review and extensive work done alongside regulators, Native American tribes, environmental groups and Enbridge.
The only thing that remains for the oil pipeline project is the water construction permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the final greenlight from the Public Utilities Commission, which has approved the project several times.
According to an Enbridge statement, “these permits are yet another science-based approval for the project, moving Line 3 closer to the start of construction,” which will start, if final state permits are granted, before 2020 ends.
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Line 3 Oil pipeline implications
For the oil pipeline opponents, the decision by the Corps is a slap on the face, and a proof that Trump’s administration is looking for a speed-up in oil and gas projects, despite of their environmental implications.
“Today’s decision is a gift by President Donald Trump to the oil industry and a slap in the face to the rest of us… We need a stay on construction of Line 3 so that Trump can’t rush this pipeline ahead while key legal challenges play out,” said Andy Pearson, Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator at MN350.
For environmental groups, the oil pipeline threatens pristine waters where Native Americans harvest rice. “We’re going to pursue justice,” said Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, quoted by APNews.
The Line 3 oil pipeline begins in Alberta, Canada, corners in North Dakota, and crosses Minnesota on its way to Enbridge’s terminal in Wisconsin. The line was built in the 1960’s and it needs modernizations as its aging represents safety concerns.
This modernization, estimated in a $2,6 billion investment, will provide safer oil transportation to the Midwest oil refiners; while creating nearly 4,200 construction jobs.