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Line 3 Replacement Pipeline - Not really a replacement

Web posted August 15, 2017
Submitted by Mary Kowalski

The Line 3 Replacement Pipeline was a big topic at the “Love Our Waters” event on Saturday, August 5th in Luscher’s Park in Outing. Discussion focused on the fact that the replacement is not a “replacement” but an entirely new corridor of pipelines seeking permitting to go a new route through the cleanest lakes in the state of MN.

Furthermore, this new corridor is not a “replacement”, since the new pipeline will have larger pipes, and carry tar sands oil - which creates 20 percent more green house gas than conventional oil. And far worse for the waters of the area, tar sands oils have no proven way of clean up when it spills in water. (Reference EPA and the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill).

The current status of the permitting process lies with the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Energy Environmental Review and Analysis. The DOC was ordered to prepare a combined Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that addressed both the Certificate of Need (CN) and the routing permit dockets in accordance with Minnesota Administrative Rule Chapter 4410. This EIS is to evaluate impacts and alternatives for the CN Decision Using Applicable Criteria.

The MN Environmental Policy Act requires “Where there is potential to do significant environmental effects resulting from a major governmental action, the action shall be preceded by a detailed environmental impact statement”.

In this case, the governmental action includes two separate but related decisions by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission:
1. Whether to issue a certificate of need.
2. A) Whether to issue a route permit for the project, and if so,
B) Where, and
C) With what conditions.

The Environmental Impact Statement will present the case to the respective Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) who will recommend actions to the Public Utilities Commission.

The final draft of the EIS is scheduled to be released for public comment August 10. After that date the EIS will be open to testimony/comment by the citizens of the state. The meeting in this area is presently scheduled to be in Crosslake on Oct. 25. Details will follow.

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