DNR to host webinars about Enbridge Line 3 license and permit applications

Agency will provide information on project and how to comment

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct three informational webinars in late April and early May about Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project. These webinars will focus on the project, how people can comment on the company’s applications, and the DNR’s decision-making process. 

Enbridge needs several licenses and permits to construct and operate a replacement of the Line 3 oil pipeline across Minnesota. The DNR is accepting comments through May 17 on Enbridge’s applications for those licenses and permits.

In addition to describing the Line 3 comment process, the webinars will help people understand the scope of the project and the DNR’s role in it.

“These webinars are a great chance for people to learn more about the Line 3 project,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “We want the public to have a clear understanding of the license and permit applications to help inform their comments on the project.”

The webinars will be held April 29 starting at 2:30 p.m.; April 30 starting at 10 a.m.; and May 6 starting at 3 p.m. Each webinar will be approximately 90 minutes in duration. The first webinar on April 29 will provide an overview of the Line 3 replacement project and the DNR’s role in regulating the project. Webinars 2 (April 30) and 3 (May 6) will focus in more detail on the 10 applications Enbridge has submitted to the DNR. The content of webinars 2 and 3 will be essentially the same, meaning there is no need to view both webinars.

Before April 29, the DNR will issue a separate news release to provide instructions on how to login to the webinars. The DNR also encourages interested individuals to sign up for email updates about the Line 3 project using the link at mndnr.gov/line3.

Following an informational presentation, each webinar will include a 30-minute question and answer period. This will be an opportunity for participants to submit questions about the applications and DNR process for review. The DNR will not be taking public comments as part of the webinars. (See below to learn how to comment.) The DNR will answer as many questions as possible in the 30-minute period.

Questions may also be submitted to the DNR in advance of the webinars. Questions can be submitted electronically on the DNR line 3 webpage (mndnr.gov/line3) in advance or via a written text portal during each webinar.

Each of the webinars will be recorded and will be available later on the DNR Line 3 webpage (mndnr.gov/line3).

Public viewing opportunities
Minnesotans will be able to view the webinars using their own computers and other devices, or from three locations in northern Minnesota:

Park Rapids, Hubbard County:
Hubbard County Government Center
Room #324 – County Board room
301 Court Ave.
Park Rapids, 56470

Clearbrook, Clearwater County:
Clearbrook Community Center
Melody Room
200 Elm St.
Clearbrook, 56634

Floodwood, Saint Louis County:
The Event Center
201 W 7th Ave.
Floodwood, 55736

The community viewing locations are for people who may not have computers or high-speed internet. There will also be an opportunity for people attending the viewing locations to submit questions during the 30-minute question and answer sessions. These sites are intended only to provide access to view the webinar and submit questions. The viewing locations will not provide an opportunity for participants to comment on the project or to address other participants at the site. (See below to learn how to comment.)

How to comment on Enbridge applications
Although the webinars will not include public comment opportunities, the DNR is accepting public comments on the Enbridge applications through May 17. The DNR will review and consider all comments received on the license and permit applications before making any final decisions. The DNR will not be providing individualized responses to comments.

The most helpful comments will be specific to one or more applications pending before the DNR and will address:

  • Additional information needed in the application(s).
  • Identification of specific resources or areas that warrant special consideration.
  • Recommendations on permit/license conditions or limitations.
  • The application’s (applications’) consistency with state statute and rule.

Comments that express support for or opposition to the project as a whole, or that address the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s prior decisions on project need and route, do not relate to the criteria the DNR must use in making its decisions on pending applications. Therefore, such comments will not inform the DNR’s decision-making.

In addition to obtaining DNR approvals, the project will need additional approvals from tribal governments, local governments, and other state and federal agencies. There is ongoing coordination between the DNR, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Minnesota Department of Commerce, to ensure efficient and effective regulation of the project.

Line 3 is one of six Enbridge oil pipelines that cross Minnesota. Enbridge is proposing to replace the existing Line 3 with a new, higher capacity line. The Public Utilities Commission has granted Enbridge a certificate of need and a route permit for the Line 3 replacement, which would follow the existing Line 3 route in places and a new alignment in other areas.

The DNR is seeking public comment on the following applications:

  • Utility Crossing License for State Land.
  • Utility Crossing License for Public Water.
  • Water Appropriation for Hydrostatic Testing and Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD).
  • Water Appropriation for Trench and Construction Dewatering.
  • Water Appropriation for Dust Control.
  • Water Appropriation for Construction Near Gully 30 (calcareous fen).
  • Work in Public Waters for Public Water Wetlands on Private Land.
  • Work in Public Waters for Willow River Bridge.
  • Calcareous Fen Management Plan (Gully 30).
  • Threatened and Endangered Species Taking Permit.

All permit and license applications are available for review at mndnr.gov/line3.

The DNR will accept comments through 4:30 p.m. May 17. Comments may be submitted online at mndnr.gov/line3. Comments may also be mailed to the DNR at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul MN 55155-4025, Attention Line 3 Replacement Applications.