Enbridge is set to move forward with the US part of the Line 3 Replacement Project after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved its revised final environmental impact statement (FEIS).

The MPUC voted 3-1 in favour of the second revised FEIS apart from agreeing to reinstate the company’s applications for a certificate of need and permit for oil pipeline routing.

The US portion of the Line 3 Replacement Project, calls for replacing an existing 34-inch pipe with a new 36-inch pipe for 21km in North Dakota, 542km in Minnesota, and 22.5km in Wisconsin.

Enbridge said that it will continue working with the state and federal permitting agencies to finalise the permits needed to begin construction on the pipeline replacement project.

Enbridge liquids pipelines executive vice president Vern Yu said: “After nearly five years of community engagement, environmental review, regulatory and legal review, it’s good to see the Line 3 Replacement Project move forward.

“It is a $2.6 billion investment in the state’s critical energy infrastructure, but from the start of the project has been about improving safety and reliability for communities and the environment.”

According to the Canadian midstream company, the Line 3 Replacement Project in the US will help to provide secure, reliable, and growing supplies of North American crude oil to Minnesota and the surrounding region.

The pipeline replacement project was approved by MPUC in June 2018. However, in June 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the approval by the commission citing that the latter’s FEIS of the project was inadequate.

The court then said that the FEIS did not address the effects of a potential oil spill from the pipeline project into the Lake Superior watershed.

Subsequently, in October 2019, MPUC issued a request to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) to submit a revised FEIS after including an analysis of the possible oil spill in the water body.

Background of the Line 3 Replacement Project

Overall, the Line 3 Replacement Project involves the complete replacement of about 1,660km of the existing Line 3 with a new pipeline and associated facilities on both sides of the Canada-US international border.

Enbridge had wrapped up construction on the CAD$5.3bn ($3.99bn) Canadian segment of the pipeline replacement project and started commercial service in December 2019.