Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project

Enbridge proposes to construct a crude oil pipeline across Minnesota. The proposal would replace and expand the capacity of the existing Line 3 pipeline. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued a Certificate of Need and Route Permit to Enbridge for construction of the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement.

A number of permits, licenses and other approvals from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are required for the project. The project would need additional approvals from other agencies and entities, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

map of minnesota with line across northern half showing route of pipeline
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DNR Decisions

These decisions mean that the proposed project meets the applicable State of Minnesota environmental regulatory requirements to receive these approvals.

*Signed versions of these permits are available upon request.

Decision Documents

November 12, 2020: The DNR has made decisions granting an additional eight of ten required DNR permits, licenses and approvals for the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project. After careful consideration of applicable state laws, all input received and the administrative record, the DNR has issued the following eight permits/approvals:

Utility Crossing License for Public LandUtility Crossing License for Public WaterThreatened and Endangered Species Taking PermitWork in Public Waters for Willow River Bridge Permit*Work in Public Waters for Public Water Wetlands on Private Land PermitWater Appropriation for Dust Suppression Permit*

October 19, 2020: The DNR has made decisions granting two of ten required DNR permits, licenses and approvals for the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project. After careful consideration of applicable state laws, all input received and the administrative record, the DNR has issued the following two permits/approvals:

Notice of Gully 30 Calcareous Fen Management Plan PermitGully 30 Fen Water Appropriation Permit

Enbridge Applications

Enbridge has submitted applications for the DNR permits and licenses. The DNR has reviewed the applications for completeness and compliance with Minnesota statutes and rules.

Final Applications

Utility Crossing Licenses

Prior to crossing state land or public waters with a utility infrastructure project, companies must obtain a utility crossing license from the DNR. Utility licenses are for a term of 25 or 50 years, and may be renewed when they expire.

Utility Crossing License for Public Land

Enbridge needs a Utility Crossing License for construction and operation of the pipeline on state lands. The proposed pipeline route will cross state forests, school trust land, state trails, and an aquatic management area.

Status: Approved

Utility Crossing License for Public Water

Enbridge needs a Utility Crossing License for construction and operation of the pipeline on public waters. The proposed pipeline route would cross 68 lakes and rivers designated as public waters.

Status: Approved


Public Waters Work Permits

Proposed projects that might affect the course, current, or cross-section of lakes, wetlands and streams identified on the Public Waters Inventory may require a public waters work permit.

Public Water Wetlands on Private Land

Enbridge does not need public waters work permits for areas that are subject to the Utility Crossing License for public waters. A public waters work permit is needed for areas where the pipeline proposes to cross a public water wetland on non-state land.

Status: Approved

Willow River Bridge

Enbridge proposes to install a bridge over the Willow River for access to a proposed valve site. A work in public waters permit would be required for this installation.

Status: Approved.


Water Appropriation Permits

A water appropriation (use) permit is required for all users withdrawing more than 10,000 gallons of water per day or 1 million gallons per year.

The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project would require a water appropriation permit for several types of activities. The DNR required Enbridge to apply for four separate water appropriation applications based on the type of proposed use:

Water for Hydrostatic Testing and Horizontal Directional Drilling

Water would be needed for hydrostatic testing of the newly constructed pipe and also needed as a source for horizontal directional drilling. Most of this water would come from surface waters near the proposed construction activities.

Status: Approved

Trench and Construction Dewatering

Water appropriation permits would be needed to allow Enbridge to remove water from pipeline trenches and other construction areas during project construction.

Status: Approved

Dust Control

Water would be needed for dust control during construction activities. Most of this water would come from surface waters near the proposed construction activities.

Status: Approved

Construction Near Gully 30 (calcareous fen)

A specific water appropriation would be needed for construction activities near the Gully 30 calcareous fen.

Status: Approved


Threatened and Endangered Species Takings Permit

A permit is required for activities that impact endangered or threatened plants or animals.

The Line 3 Replacement Pipeline Project would need a permit for the take of endangered and threatened plant species that cannot be avoided along the route.

Status: Approved


Calcareous Fen Management Plan

Calcareous fens may not be filled, drained or otherwise degraded, wholly or partially, by any activity, unless the commissioner of natural resources expressly allows such impact under an approved management plan.

The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement project proposes construction through a calcareous fen (Gully 30) located in Polk County.

Status: Approved (An amended Notice of Decision was issued on November 10, 2020. This amendment corrected typographical errors in the previous decision. No substantive changes have been made.)

The DNR also required Enbridge to apply for a separate water appropriation permit for construction dewatering activities near the Gully 30 Fen because of the fen's sensitivity to disturbance.


DNR Access Leases

Enbridge is required to secure short- and long-term leases for construction and operation of the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline on DNR-administered land. These leases would accommodate needs such as temporary workspaces on DNR-administered land that are outside of the Utility Crossing License right-of-way.

The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project would need state land leases for access roads and temporary workspaces on DNR-administered land that are outside of the Utility Crossing License right-of-way.

Status: Approved

More Information

Online informational webinars

The DNR held three informational webinars focused on the project, the DNR's decision-making process and how people can comment on the company's applications. Each webinar was approximately 90 minutes and included a 30-minute question and answer period.

Webinar 1 - Project overview and DNR's role in permitting, Monday, April 29, 2019.

Webinar 2 - Project application information, Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

Webinar 3 - Project application information, Monday, May 6, 2019.

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