"MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard arguments over Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 replacement project in northern Minnesota, which opponents are calling unnecessary due to an eventual decline in the demand for oil.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, along with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and several Indigenous and environmental groups, argued before the three-judge panel that Enbridge failed to show long-term need for the Line 3 project. The state’s independent Public Utilities Commission granted the company a certificate of need after Enbridge demonstrated demand to transport crude oil, not demand for the crude oil itself, said Katherine Hinderlie, an attorney for the Commerce department.
“The demanders of crude oil are refineries, and therefore the department believes you should look to refinery demand for crude oil,” Hinderlie said. “Space on the pipeline is driven by oil producers’ desire to sell and ship as much oil as they can.”
The Calgary, Alberta-based company broke ground on the replacement pipeline in December after receiving a construction stormwater permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, its final permit after years of pursuing approval for the $2.6 billion project. The PUC denied motions by the tribes to put a pause on the project and reconsider their approval, and the appeals court last month denied their request to halt construction on the project."