Frequently asked questions

Review process

What is the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) role in the Enbridge Line 3 process?

For this project, the MPCA is responsible for reviewing four permits and certifications — air quality permit, 401 water quality certification, construction stormwater permit and an industrial wastewater permit. Most of these permits require a public comment period, currently scheduled for summer 2019. To issue the permits and certification, the MPCA must be satisfied that Enbridge’s applications meet all applicable rules and regulations and that the applicant will comply with all conditions of the permit.

How does the MN Department of Commerce’s current legal challenge impact the permit process?

The MPCA continues to review Enbridge’s permit applications and use information from the EIS while the Minnesota Court of Appeals makes a decision on the current legal challenge.

Is the MPCA going to issue permits regardless of public comments?

The MPCA reviews and considers all public comments made throughout the review process. Based on public comments and using the best information available, the MPCA works with applicants to identify and incorporate the permit/certification conditions that would allow a project to comply with the applicable environmental laws and requirements. The most effective way to engage in the permitting process is identifying permit conditions that can be improved.

What can a citizen do to make sure their concerns are heard by decision makers?

When the draft permits and certification are out for public notice, you are encouraged to provide input and give feedback.

Does the MPCA have oversight on tribal lands?

While the MPCA does not have oversight on tribal lands, it is working in consultation with tribal nations during the review process. Tribal nations or the federal government issues permits for tribal lands.

How will the MPCA protect wild rice waters?

The MPCA is responsible for protecting all of Minnesota’s waters. The 401 certification review focuses on ensuring the proposed pipeline will comply with state water quality standards. The MPCA is also working with tribal nations to identify concerns to wild rice waters.

Is the MPCA using climate change as a factor in its review process?

Climate change has had a significant impact on Minnesota’s waters and remains a top-tier concern for the MPCA. While project greenhouse gas emissions are currently out of scope for the MPCA’s Line 3 water permits and certifications, the already-occurring impacts from climate change may be a consideration during the review process for the agency and other concerned parties.


Project status

Can Enbridge start construction before the appropriate permits have been issued?

Enbridge cannot start construction or perform related activities that result in land disturbance, including clearing and removing roots. Enbridge is able to do certain activities prior to permits being approved.

What types of activities are allowed without a permit?

Enbridge is able to conduct some activities that prepare the site for possible construction. Those activities include:

  • Staging materials where they do not disturb land and expose soils
  • Parking construction trailers along the proposed route where they don’t disturb land and expose soils
  • Conducting surveys and inspections of proposed route (by land and helicopter)
  • Maintaining and repairing the current pipeline such as  performing integrity digs to check the status of the current line

Who do I contact with concerns or questions regarding work currently being done on project?

If you have concerns regarding pipeline construction, call the Minnesota Duty Officer at 1-800-422-0798.


Project details

Why is Enbridge proposing the project?

In its Public Utilities Commission (PUC) application, Enbridge stated the purpose is to replace the Minnesota portion of the existing Line 3 pipeline in order to: 1) address known integrity risks, 2) reduce apportionment due to decreased transport capacity related to integrity issues, and 3) restore flexibility to the Enbridge Mainline System for more efficient operation.

Will the proposed pipeline route cross my property?

You can visit the PUC’s interactive map to find where your property is in relation to the proposed route.

Will the new pipeline run on the same land as existing pipeline?

Partially. The new pipeline will follow the existing Line 3 route from the Minnesota/North Dakota border in Kittson County, MN, to Clearbrook, MN. From there, the pipeline would follow a new route, proceeding south to Hubbard, MN, and then east, eventually crossing into Wisconsin near Wrenshall, MN. For a map and further description of the route, please visit the interactive map.

Will the existing pipeline be abandoned?

If approved by the MPCA and when the Line 3 Replacement pipeline becomes operational, the existing pipeline will be permanently deactivated. The PUC’s Certificate of Need requires Enbridge to establish a “Landowner Choice Program” whereby the company would remove the existing Line 3 pipeline from property upon a landowner’s request. Because the removal of the deactivated pipeline is based upon voluntary landowner participation and site-specific feasibility, the MPCA is unable to state where the existing pipeline might remain in place at this time. For additional information on the Landowner Choice Program, please review the project’s Certificate of Need documents available at the MN Department of Commerce’s webpage.

What will happen to any abandoned pipeline?

The remaining Line 3 deactivated pipeline will be cleaned, disconnected and sealed from the operational pipeline route.