Description: Challenge to water quality certification for Enbridge Energy's Line 3 replacement pipeline project in Minnesota.
In re Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project Section 401 Water Quality Certification
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/30/2021 Opinion Download Minnesota Pollution Control Agency decision affirmed. Minnesota Court Affirmed Water Quality Certification for Line 3 Replacement Project. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the issuance of a water quality certification under Clean Water Act Section 401 for the Line 3 replacement project proposed by Enbridge Energy LP. The project involves replacing an existing pipeline that transports crude oil with a new pipeline using a different route. As a threshold matter, the Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the issuance of a final Section 404 permit for the Line 3 project mooted the appeal. On the merits, the court found that the Section 401 certification was not affected by legal error and was supported by substantial evidence in the record. Among the arguments rejected by the court was the contention that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency erred by failing to consider the effects of climate change in its analysis of whether the project would violate state water quality standards. The court said this argument did not identify a rule that was allegedly violated but instead challenged “the adequacy of the agency’s analysis of relevant facts in evaluating potential environmental effects.” The court therefore found that it was required to defer to the agency’s application of technical knowledge and expertise.