Enbridge is seeking to abandon their Line 3 pipeline and build a new one inside the Sandpiper corridor. The State of Minnesota has absolutely no regulatory guidelines for pipeline abandonment. Although Enbridge receives powers of eminent domain to build its pipelines, they are not required to assume any responsibility for them when they die. They are allowed to leave behind trash that, according to Minnesota law, constitutes an underground storage tank. Tribal members, homeowners, local businesses, and people across the north are standing up to say no.
Please voice your concerns to the MN Public Utilities Commission. Submit a comment (instructions below) or attend one of the public hearings being held August 11-26, in 11 different towns across Northern Minnesota. Speak your concerns about the new Line 3 construction permit, and have them recorded in that docket. The Certificate of Need docket is CN-14-916 and the Route Permit docket is PPL-15-137.
SUBMIT A COMMENT ON LINE 3:
Comments are accepted through September 30, 2015. Always Include docket numbers (listed above). There are 4 ways to submit:
1. Online: mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities/#comment
2. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Fax to 651-539-0109
4. mail to:
Jamie MacAlister, Environmental Review Manager,
Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul MN 55101
Enbridge should bear the responsibility of cleaning up any abandoned segments of Line 3. According to Minnesota law these pipelines constitute underground storage tanks. Petroleum remnants and PCBs can seep into groundwater long after the pipeline has ceased operations. The Canadian Energy Board has a pipeline abandonment guidance document that identifies potential sources of soil and groundwater contamination from abandoned pipelines that include:
• substances produced in the reservoir and deposited on the walls of the pipeline;
• treatment chemicals in the pipeline;
• the line pipe and associated facilities;
• pipeline coatings and their degradation products;
• possible PCB contamination, from lubricants.
The document also discusses the enormous hydrological impact of abandoning a pipeline, which can transform over time into water conduits. Eventually, corrosion allows water to enter the pipe, which leads to unnatural drainage of areas such as muskegs, sloughs, or marshes, affecting the natural balance of the ecosystem and increasing the risk of soil and water contamination, especially in wetlands. Any water that infiltrates the pipeline is likely to carry residual contaminants in the abandoned pipeline as it flows.
Enbridge should not be allowed to abandon Line 3 without completing remediation of the pipeline corridor. If they are not required to remove the pipeline and restore the damaged ecosystemes, there may never be a full accounting of the on-going and future contamination from the abandoned pipeline infrastructure.
Find more information and a printable factsheet here.
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