Assessing the Risk.

AuthorRussell, Scott

Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters and three Native American nations (the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe) are challenging the environmental impact statement on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline. Oral arguments were held in the Minnesota Court of Appeals on March 20. A decision is expected in mid-June.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Line 3 last year, in part based on the environmental impact statement. Line 3's proposed new route would cross:

227 water bodies, including the Mississippi Headwaters

78 miles of wetlands

12,318 acres of unusually sensitive ecological areas

25,765 acres of high vulnerability water table aquifers

87 acres of wellhead protection areas

2,443 acres of drinking water sources

The new corridor would also result in the loss of 3.4 square miles of Minnesota forest and woody wetlands.

Both lawsuits claim that the environmental impact statement fails to look at site-specific impacts of potential oil spills, "and does not use generally accepted oil spill risk-assessment methodologies."


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