Revised EIS confirms a replacement Line 3 incident would not introduce risk to Lake Superior

December 09, 2019

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has directed the Department of Commerce to revise Line 3’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding spill modeling in the Lake Superior Watershed as required by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The DOC’s spill modeling confirms that in the unlikely case of a spill the Line 3 replacement segment does not introduce risk to Lake Superior. By design the model did not take into account any response, mitigation or cleanup efforts for 24 hours and even then, none of the simulations resulted in oil reaching Spirit Lake or entering Lake Superior even in high flow conditions. In real life, Enbridge crews would respond immediately and aggressively to actively address the spill and begin cleanup.

The public comment period is an expected next step in the PUC process. It’s important to remember that Line 3’s Environmental Impact Statement completed previously by the DOC, the Department of Natural Resources and the Pollution Control Agency included extensive review and significant public comment and stakeholder input. Line 3’s EIS is already an in-depth 13,500 page environmental study of the project.

After four years of regulatory and permitting review, the replacement of Enbridge’s Line 3 is the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history. It is a $2.6 billion private investment in the state’s critical energy infrastructure.