Updated: August 30, 2021 06:26 PM
Created: August 30, 2021 12:48 PM
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed a decision by state pollution regulators to issue a water quality certification for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline.
It's the latest setback for opponents as the project nears completion. Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by opponents of the pipeline, letting stand a key decision by independent regulators to allow construction to proceed.
Monday, the appeals court ruled that "substantial evidence" supported the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s approval.
Under federal law, the MPCA was required to certify whether the project met state and federal clean water standards. The agency concluded that it did.
The ruling states that in addressing relators' challenges to the certification, "we conclude that the MPCA's section 401 certification is not affected by legal error and is supported by substantial evidence in the record. We therefore affirm the MPCA's decision."
Opponents of the new Line 3 say the heavy oil that would move through the pipeline would accelerate climate change and risk spills in lakes, wetlands and streams where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish and claim treaty rights. Nearly 900 Line 3 opponents have been arrested at protests along the route across northern Minnesota and in St. Paul.
Meanwhile, Enbridge said it has spent over $287 million on the project with tribal nations, citizens, communities and contractors, and has created thousands of jobs as well as millions in local spending and tax revenues.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2021 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company