(The Center Square) – On Tuesday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected a Native American tribe’s request to halt the pipeline construction of Enbridge’s $2.6-billion Line 3 oil pipeline.
The Calgary-based Enbridge project is expected to create 4,200 construction jobs and inject millions of dollars into Northern Minnesota after the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers green-lighted the project in November.
The project would replace Line 3’s 337-mile long, 34-inch pipeline in Minnesota, which currently operates at 51% capacity due to corrosion, with a new 36-inch wide pipeline.
The replacement would boost average oil flow to 760,000 barrels per day.
Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin.
Supporters say the project will create 8,600 jobs. Enbridge says it would pay around $65 million in Minnesota property taxes in the project’s first functional year.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said the ruling was “great news for Northern Minnesota and the many communities that could use the jobs and economic investment that Line 3 will bring.”
“The commission’s [stay] decision is not an abuse of discretion,” the court wrote, adding that granting a stay would have a “substantial negative effect on the public interest because it would necessitate the prolonged operation of existing Line 3,” which “increases the chance of an accidental spill on that pipeline, chances that will be greatly reduced with the construction of the state-of-the-art Project.”
Environmental activists argued the construction would violate cultural rights and existing treaties.
The same day, 50 activists marched onto the construction easement, while a few locked themselves to an excavator near Cloquet.
“Our state laws are not working in the public interest and for the public good. We are endangering future generations … and that’s got to stop,” activist Charles King said.
The court ruling followed President Joe Biden halting the Keystone XL Pipeline, a move that angered unions and Canadian leaders.