Minnesota regulators imposed a fine of $3.32 million on Enbridge for violating the construction plan of the Line 3 oil pipeline and violating the aquifer near Clearbrook, Minnesota, resulting in the release of more than 24 million gallons of groundwater.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced that it will impose a fine and will refer the matter to the Clearwater County Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, because Minnesota’s law prohibits people without prior permission. In the case, use “the state’s waters”. From the commissioner. “
“Enbridge’s actions clearly violated state laws and violated public trust,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a press release. “This shouldn’t have happened. We want the company to take full responsibility.”
According to DNR, Enbridge deviated from the construction plan it submitted to the agency near its Clearbrook Wharf, which was designed to avoid calcareous wetlands. The upwelling of mineral-containing groundwater. It is booming,” DNR said.
Instead of digging a trench 8 to 10 feet deep as planned, the company dug a trench 18 feet deep and installed a 28-foot deep sheet pile. DNR stated that this destroyed the confining layer of the artesian aquifer, resulting in “uncontrolled flow of groundwater into the trench.” DNR stated that Enbridge subsequently “failed” to notify the agency.
DNR stated: “Enbridge began work on the Clearbrook Wharf site in early 2021, but did not follow the construction plan it provided to DNR.” “DNR relied on these plans to determine that the proposed work at Clearbrook Wharf could be effective without affecting the nearby calcareous marshland. Under circumstances.”
DNR stated that as of September 5, approximately 24.2 million gallons of groundwater had been released from the aquifer.
DNR stated that excess water in the trench was first observed in January 2021, but it was not determined until June that the company had not followed its plan. DNR said it approved an Enbridge plan last month to stop the flow of groundwater.
Among DNR’s $3.32 million fine, it ordered $2.75 million to be placed in trust to restore and mitigate any damage to the calcareous swamp. In addition, US$300,000 was used to “pay the initial mitigation funds for groundwater resources loss”, US$250,000 was used for DNR’s monitoring of wetlands near violations, and US$20,000 was used for administrative penalty orders.
In an e-mail statement sent to Forum News, Enbridge spokesperson Juli Kellner (Juli Kellner) stated that the Canadian company had just received the DNR news and was “reviewing the document.” She did not answer questions about whether Enbridge leaders believe the amount is fair or whether they intend to appeal the fine.
“Since June, Enbridge has been working with DNR to provide the required site information and approve the corrective action plan currently being implemented,” Kellner said. “We strongly hope to protect the waters and environment in Minnesota and are committed to restoration. We will continue to work closely with the agency to resolve this matter.”
The construction of the 340-mile-long pipeline across northern Minnesota is nearing completion, which is intended to replace the aging pipeline operated by Enbridge. It is expected to be put into use by the end of this year.
When completed, the new pipeline will transport 760,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta, Canada to the Ambridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. New pipelines in the Canadian states of North Dakota and Wisconsin have been completed.
Opponents of Line 3 have long believed that it violates tribal treaty rights and poses a risk to the environment, including further aggravating climate change by continuing to rely on fossil fuels.
“No pipeline should be built in this way,” the Resistance Line 3 media collective tweeted Thursday night. “We need #StopLine3.”