Enbridge Fined $11 Million Over Construction Of Line 3 Pipeline

Enbridge Line 3

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa announced Monday over $11 million in fines, financial assurances, and environmental projects have been levied against Enbridge over spills and breaches caused by their Line 3 pipeline.

The MPCA says it found Enbridge violated a series of regulations such as discharging construction stormwater in wetlands and releasing drilling mud into 12 different locations between June 8, 2021, and Aug. 5, 2021.

In a press release, the MPCA also says the DNR has finalized two resolution agreements to address three aquifer breaches related to Line 3 construction.

“At the start of this project, the MPCA issued our most stringent water quality certification to date and permits that were strong, enforceable, and protective — and this enforcement action holds Enbridge accountable for the violations that occurred during construction,” MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler said in the press release. “We are committed to protecting Minnesota’s wetlands and streams and will continue to monitor the company’s ongoing work to return the site to its pre-construction condition.”

Enbridge’s Line pipeline became operational in November 2021. The MPCA permits remain in place as Enbridge works to restore all the construction sites along the line to their pre-construction condition.

Here’s a breakdown of the fines, according to the MPCA:

  • $150,000 in funds for the DNR and Fond du Lac to conduct ongoing monitoring
  • $20,000 (the statutory maximum) in penalty funds to the DNR
  • $105,000 in penalty funds to Fond du Lac
  • $200,000 to Fond du Lac for water quality enhancement projects
  • $300,000 in financial assurance funds available to the DNR, if needed, for restoration, mitigation, or monitoring
  • $1 million in financial assurance funds available to Fond du Lac, if needed, for restoration, mitigation, or monitoring

Separately, the DNR and Enbridge reached an agreement for two other aquifer breaches, one near Enbridge’s Clearbrook Terminal and the other near the LaSalle Creek Crossing. This builds on previous enforcement action taken in 2021, which included $20,000 in penalties, $590,000 for mitigation and monitoring, and $2.75 million in escrow as financial assurance for fen wetlands mitigation and restoration – if needed. The new agreement includes $165,400 in additional groundwater mitigation funds for the Clearbrook location.

For the LaSalle Creek site, the new agreement includes:

  • $100,000 in funds to conduct ongoing monitoring
  • $20,000 (the statutory maximum) in penalty funds
  • $200,000 in mitigation funds
  • $610,000 in financial assurance funds, if needed, for restoration, mitigation, or monitoring

The MPCA investigation results require Enbridge to:

  • Pay $2.395 million to the State of Minnesota
  • Fund $2.625 million to complete several supplemental environmental projects in affected watersheds along the project line
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