401 certification for Enbridge Line 3

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. 

Permitting process timeline showing a red "current status" arrow pointing at "Certification decision".

Current status

On November 12, 2020, the MPCA granted final 401 water quality certification for Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project. The MPCA reached its final decisions after comprehensive regulatory and technical analysis, extensive public participation, a contested case hearing that investigated the project’s water quality protections, and coordination with other state/federal agencies.

On November 23, 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the federal 404 permit.

Final certification documents

Final certification request and supporting documents

Draft certification documents

Draft certification request and supporting documents

Previous documents

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