Enbridge fined for breaching Minnesota environmental laws during Line 3 construction

Enbridge fined for breach

Enbridge Inc. has been fined for breaching Minnesota environmental laws during the construction of its Line 3 pipeline replacement.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has ordered Enbridge to pay $3.32 million for breaching an aquifer containing groundwater during construction of a trench near the company's Clearbrook Terminal.

The department says Enbridge did not follow the construction plans it had originally provided, and instead dug the trench deeper than proposed. It says the resulting breach of the aquifer caused an unauthorized release of 24.2 million gallons of water, which has had to be pumped, treated and released to a nearby wetland.

The department says it has also referred the matter to the Clearwater County Attorney for criminal prosecution. It says Minnesota law makes it a crime to appropriate waters of the state without a permit.

Enbridge says it has been working with Minnesota since June on the issue and has implemented a corrective action plan to halt the flow of groundwater. It says it is committed to restoration and will work closely with the agency on a resolution.

Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline replacement is expected to be in service by the end of the year. The $9.3-billion project is expected to add about 370,000 barrel per day of crude oil export capacity from Western Canada into the U.S.

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