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Minnesota Supreme Court rejects Line 3 pipeline challenges



FILE - A No Trespassing sign is visible at a Enbridge Energy pipeline drilling pad along a rail line that traces the Minnesota-Wisconsin border south of Jay Cooke State Park in Minnesota, June 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has declined to take up challenges by tribal and conservation groups to the environmental review of Enbridge Energy’s $2.9 billion pipeline proposal for replacing its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

The court rejected requests in a one-page order Tuesday. The project could have faced a long delay if the high court had agreed to hear the appeals.

Environmental groups and Native American bands said it will open a new region of Minnesota’s waters to degradation from oil spills. The new Line 3 would partly follow a new route through some prime lake country, instead of running wholly along Enbridge’s current corridor of six pipelines.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge says the decision means that the Public Utilities Commission can now move forward with addressing one deficiency in the environmental impact statement identified by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the Minnesota Supreme Court felt more interested in siding with the rights of a Canadian corporation to proceed with a high-risk project than protecting the rights of the Minnesota Anishinabe and indigenous people and the rights of nature,” Winona LaDuke, head of Honor the Earth, said in a statement.

Honor the Earth and the Mille Lacs, White Earth and Red Lake Ojibwe bands had petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the other arguments. The high court, however, hears fewer than 15 percent of the petitions it receives.

That court upheld most of the environmental review in June, but sent the case back to the PUC for further work because the review did not address a possible spill in the Lake Superior watershed.

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