Sandpiper / Line 3 Corridor

 1855_Treaty_map_w_Sandpiper_route_pic.jpgWe live in the North. This is the only land that the Anishinaabe know, and we know that this land is good land, and this water is our life-blood. One-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply lies here, and it is worth protecting. Our wild rice beds, lakes, and rivers are precious – and our regional fisheries generate $7.2 billion annually, and support 49,000 jobs. The tourism economy of northern Minnesota represents $ll.9 billion in gross sales (or 240,000 jobs).

All of this is threatened by the proposed Sandpiper and Line 3 pipeline corridor. For us, on the White Earth reservation in northwestern Minnesota, these pipelines threaten our community, and our way of life. These lines would cross pristine aquatic ecosystems. This land and this water are precious and they are endangered. 

Enbridge estimates that the current Line 3 pipeline has over 900 integrity "anomalies."  Instead of fixing the pipeline and cleaning up their mess; they are seeking to abandon the Line 3 pipeline and build the new Sandpiper line.  The abandoned pipeline would cause substantial water damage through contamination and unnatural drainage.  You can read more information on this fact sheet.

Sign our petition demanding that the Sandpiper / Line 3 corridor be rejected

On November 29, 2016, Canada's federal government officially approved Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline.  Once the last piece of Dakota Access pipe is removed from the ground, we at Honor the Earth will turn our focus back to Line 3.  Similar in size and purpose to the recently defeated Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3 is proposed to transport tar sands oil over 1000 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, right through the heart of Anishinaabe territory and some of the best lakes and wild rice beds in the world.  The proposed route endangers three of the continent’s major watersheds including the Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world’s fresh water.  It would also pierce the heart of Ojibwe treaty lands, where members of signatory bands retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony, and travel.  It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this.   We will not allow Line 3 to desecrate our lands, violate our treaty rights, or poison our water. 

With a cost of $7.5 billion, Line 3 is the largest project in Enbridge’s history, and would be one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the continent, carrying up to 760,000 barrels per day.   Enbridge calls this project a “replacement” because they already have a Line 3 pipeline in their mainline corridor, which transects Northern Minnesota with 6 pipelines in it.  But don’t be fooled – this is a new pipeline.   The new pipe would be larger (36” instead of 34”), carry nearly twice the volume of oil, and establish an entirely new corridor through Northern Minnesota.  That is not a replacement.   And to top it all off, Enbridge simply wants to walk away from the old, crumbling Line 3 pipeline and abandon it in the ground.  Unfortunately, there is no federal or state regulation to speak of that would prevent tribes and landowners from the extreme financial and ecological liability this poses.  But tribes are standing up, and landowners are coming together to take action

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline has already faced 2 years of fierce resistance in the Great Lakes, led by Ojibwe tribes and grassroots groups like Honor the Earth, MN350, and Friends of the Headwaters.   For 4 years, we fought the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would have established the new corridor in which Enbridge also wants to put the new Line 3.  Eventually, we succeeded in our efforts to combine the Sandpiper and Line 3 applications into one regulatory process in Minnesota, and a successful Friends of the Headwaters lawsuit forced the State of Minnesota to conduct a full, cumulative Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on both lines. 

In August, 2016, we defeated the Sandpiper and Enbridge canceled their plans for that project.   But the battle against Line 3 remains.   The State of Minnesota is currently writing the EIS for Line 3, after many months of battle over what the study would include, who would perform the analyses, and which alternatives would be considered.  The draft EIS is scheduled to be released in April 2017 and the public will have a chance to comment at a series of public hearings.  

As the State of Minnesota prepares its Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is preparing its own EIS.  The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is a federally recognized tribal government comprised of 6 Ojibwe/Chippewa Bands (Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth) and their more than 42,000 members.  A tribal EIS is a very rare thing in the context of big infrastructure projects.  This is a bold and courageous assertion of self-determination.  The tribes are unified but need your support as they stand up to protect their landbase and the resources critical to the survival of the Anishinaabeg.    





Proposed Line 3 Timeline submitted Oct. 31 by Administrative Law Judge
Docket #: PL9/PPL-15-137
Document ID: 201610-126100-02

Date Event Description
April 11, 2016 (COMPLETED) Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and Draft Scoping Decision Document Commission publishes EAW and issues Draft Scoping Decision Document for public review and comment on the scoping process.
April 25, 2016 – May 11, 2016 (COMPLETED) Scoping Meetings 12 scoping meetings were conducted by the DOC-EERA
May 26, 2016 (COMPLETED) End of Scoping Comment Period Deadline to submit comments regarding scope of environmental review and route alternative selection.
September 22, 2016 (COMPLETED) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Scoping Decision due Identifies all routes and route alternatives to be considered and the issues to be examined in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
December 5, 2016 EIS Preparation Notice to be served Advises interested parties as to the preparation of the DEIS.
January 31, 2017 Applicant’s Direct Testimony Due Direct Testimony for Applicant’s witnesses shall be served and filed by this date.
April 3, 2017 (anticipated) Issuance of DEIS DOC-EERA shall prepare and file a Draft Environmental Impact Statement by this date. If additional time is needed to prepare the DEIS, the DOC-EERA shall request additional time from the Administrative Law Judge and such requests shall be freely granted. A hard copy of the draft DEIS shall be mailed to the Administrative Law Judge by the DOC-EERA.
April/May 2017 (dates, times, and locations TBD) Draft EIS Informational Meetings Conducted by DOC-EERA. Describes DEIS and provides opportunity for public comment. Proposed route and route alternatives will be identified in the DEIS. The informational meetings provide the public an opportunity to learn about the proposed routes and route alternatives and comment on the same.
May 15, 2017 Intervention Deadline All Petitions for Intervention shall be served and filed by this date.
May 15, 2017 1:30 p.m. Commission Offices St. Paul, MN Fourth Prehearing Conference Prehearing conference to discuss scheduling of public hearings, comment period deadlines, and all other prehearing and hearing matters.
August 10, 2017 (anticipated) Issuance of Final Environmental Impact Statement DOC-EERA shall prepare and file a Final Environmental Impact Statement by this date. If additional time is needed to prepare the FEIS, the DOC-EERA shall request additional time from the Administrative Law Judge and such requests shall be freely granted. A hard copy of the draft FEIS shall be mailed to the Administrative Law Judge by the DOC-EERA.
September 11, 2017 Intervenors’ Direct Testimony due Direct Testimony for Intervenors’ witnesses shall be served and filed by this date.
October 11, 2017 Rebuttal Testimony due All rebuttal Testimony shall be served and filed by this date.
October 23, 2017 Surrebuttal Testimony due All surrebuttal testimony shall be served and filed by this date.
August 15, 2017 to October 31, 2017 Notice will be provided pursuant to rule and law prior to the hearings. Public Hearings Times, dates, and locations TBD Please note that hearings will end upon the final speaker. Please arrive promptly to be heard. Administrative Law Judge – introduction and opening remarks. Commission Staff – introduction on process and Commission’s role. Applicant introduces Certificate of Need and Route Permit Applications and record of other relevant items. DOC-EERA introduces into the record the procedural work to date, including DEIS and FEIS. Intervenors and members of the public may offer oral and written testimony and may question witnesses. The Applicant shall make Public Hearing transcripts available at public libraries located in all counties along the proposed route and route alternatives. Cost of hearing transcript copies to be paid by the Applicant.
November 6-10, 2017 Evidentiary Hearing at Commission Offices in St. Paul, MN Evidentiary hearing on the Petition for a Certificate of Need and Route Permit Application.
November 22, 2017 Public Comment Period and Administrative Record Closes Transcript of contested case hearing to be filed and made available to the public. All comments shall be filed with the Commission using the SpeakUp system.
December 11, 2017 Initial Briefs of Parties Due Initial briefs from the parties are due to be served and filed by this date.
January 15, 2018 Reply Briefs of Parties Reply briefs shall be served and filed by this date.
February 28, 2018 (Anticipated) Administrative Law Judge’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation to be filed The Administrative Law Judge shall serve and file her report recommending a route on or around this date.
April 30, 2018 (Anticipated) MPUC Decision It is anticipated that the MPUC will issue its final decision on or around this date.

Tentative Environmental Impact Statement Schedule
Docket#: PL9/PPL-15-137
Document ID: 201612-127062-03

Date Task
April 11, 2016 Scoping EAW and DSDD issued
April–May 2016 2016 EIS Public Scoping Meeting(s)
May 26, 2016 Close of 2016 EIS Public Comment Period
September 21, 2016 Submit Scoping Summary Report, FSDD, and Comments and Recommendations to PUC
October 2016 PUC Meeting to Approve Final Scope
November 2016 PUC Decision Order on Final Scope
December 5, 2016 EIS Preparation Notice (Start of 280-day EIS process)
April 3, 2017 DEIS Issued for Public Review and Comment
April-May 2017 DEIS Public Meetings
July 10, 2017 FEIS Issued