MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Biden administration reported in a court file this week that it did not plan to cancel federal permits for the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project, despite calls from Native Americans and Indians. environmental groups for the president to intervene.
The US Army Corps of Engineers used the case to defend its decision in November to grant Enbridge a water license for the project, the last major approval the Calgary, Alta.-Based company needed.
Wednesday’s filing by the Corps and its attorneys at the Justice Department marks the first time President Joe Biden’s administration has publicly taken a stand on Enbridge’s plan to replace its aging Line 3, which transports oil from western Canada to the Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Environmental organizations expressed their displeasure on Thursday.
“Allowing Line 3 to move forward is at best inconsistent with the bold promises of climate and environmental justice on which President Biden campaigned and was elected,” said Michael Brune, director. Sierra Club executive, in a statement.
But Enbridge said in a statement that the Corps filing “is an expected next step in the court appeal process,” and that it has presented the federal agency’s “very thorough review” to federal permits. of the pipeline 3.
Two Ojibwa bands and three environmental groups sued the Corps in federal court late last year. They claimed that the Corps had not properly assessed the pipeline’s impact on climate change and that the agency should have conducted its own comprehensive environmental impact assessment on the pipeline instead of relying on that of the State. Their lawsuit also alleges that the Corps failed to fully consider treaty rights. The pipeline crosses land where several tribes claim treaty rights to hunt, gather and fish.
The Corps requested that the case be dismissed, saying the agency met all the requirements of federal environmental law. The permit allows Enbridge to drill under certain rivers during construction and to dump dredged material.
The Minnesota section of the pipeline is more than 60% complete. The Wisconsin and Canadian sections are already transporting oil. Protests along the highway in Minnesota have escalated dramatically over the past few weeks.
Since Biden took office in January, opponents of Line 3 have repeatedly called on him to stop the project. The most practical legal way for him to do this would be to revoke the 3 Line Corps license, or order that the license be re-issued.
“Today’s decision is the Biden administration on autopilot, defending a Trump water license for a huge tar sands pipeline that is in fact indefensible,” said Andy Pearson, organizer of MN350, a group on climate change.