Since Enbridge proposes to alter (fill and/or excavate) protected wetlands for the Line 3 project, the company has applied for a permit under Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), governing placement of dredged or fill material into wetlands. Section 404 permits are issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees such activities.
The 404 permit requires the applicant to also request a water quality certification from the state under CWA Section 401. This allows the state (in this case the MPCA) to review the proposed activity in order to determine if it will comply with applicable water quality standards, and identify any conditions needed to ensure compliance. If the review finds that water quality will be protected, the 401 certification is issued and the certification and conditions become part of the 404 permit.
The MPCA follows the general process below for processing 401 certification requests. Steps in green indicate opportunities for public participation in the process.
On June 3, 2020 the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency granted a contested case hearing on the agency’s draft 401 water quality certification for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project. The contested case hearing, expected to be scheduled later this summer, will focus on Enbridge’s water crossing methods to ensure all impacted streams and wetlands are protected. Additional information can be found in the contested case hearing order below.
To accommodate a contested case hearing, the MPCA received approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend its deadline for the 401 certification from August 15 to November 14, 2020. The MPCA is required by the Clean Water Act to make a final decision regarding the 401 certification by November 14, 2020, which is one year after Enbridge submitted its application.
- Enbridge Line 3 CCH order
- Draft 401 Certification Line 3 (wq-wwprm1-54a)
- Enbridge Line 3–Preliminary Antidegradation Determination for 401 Certification (wq-wwprm1-54b)
- View public comments submitted for the draft 401 water quality certification
Certification request and supporting documents
- Line 3 Replacement Project 401 Certification Request Letter Nov 2019
- Line 3 Replacement Project Revised Antidegradation Assessment
- Attachment A - PUC Certificate of Need 2018
- Attachment B - PUC Route Permit 2018
- Attachment C - Receiving Waters Tables
- Attachment D - Wetland Impact Tables
- Attachment E - Wild Rice Waters Downstream of the Line 3 Replacement Project
- Attachment F - Water Quality Data
- Attachment G - Anticipated Water Quality
- Attachment H - Environmental Protection Plan
- Attachment I - Blasting Plan
- Attachment J - Winter Construction Plan
- Attachment K - Hydrofracture Analyses
- Attachment L - Drilling Mud Additives Information
- Attachment M - HDD Inadvertent Release Response Plans
- Attachment N - Post Construction Wetland & Waterbody Monitoring Plan
- Attachment O - Riparian Information at Waterbody Crossings
- Attachment P - Compensatory Wetland Mitigation Plan
- Contaminated Sites Mgmt Plan
- Environmental Monitor Control Plan
- Operational Pipeline Plan
- Line 3 Project review matrices
- Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project in Minnesota – Section 401 Water Quality Certification Denial
- Enbridge Line 3 Joint Application for 401 Certification and 404 Permit (wq-wwprm1-52g)
- Enbridge Oct 29, 2018, 401 Certification Cover Letter to MPCA (wq-wwprm1-52h)
- Enbridge Antidegradation Assessment for Section 401 WQ Certification (wq-wwprm1-52i)