Endbridge Line 3 Pipeline Issue

General Information:

  1. Enbridge currently has 6 pipeline lines that cross Minnesota. Line 3 is one of those pipelines and has been in the ground for over 50 years. This is the line Enbridge is proposing to replace.
  2. The DNR needs to grant permits/licenses for the construction of the new line. A summary of the required DNR permits/licenses can be found at mndnr.gov/line3.
  3. Some other governmental agencies that are involved in the approval process are the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Both the MPCA and ACOE will need to approve licenses and/or permits for the replacement pipeline.
  4. Enbridge has already received a Conditional Needs Permit and a Route Permit from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and these permits are being challenged by many other agencies and environmental groups.
  5. The proposed route for the replacement line 3 follows an established Enbridge pipeline corridor to Clearbrook , MN and then travels south in a completely new route that contains no other pipelines. This new route enters a pristine environment that contains numerous lakes, wetlands and forests. This new pipeline route would have a negative impact on the existing hydrology, plant communities and wildlife. It crosses many rivers, streams, swamps, bogs and many wild rice beds.
  6. In Cass County the new pipeline route would run, in a power line corridor, approximately 6 – 10 miles north of the City of Fifty Lakes and just south of the Lake Washburn Road. This pipeline route crosses Daggett Brook. Daggett Brook flows south from Lake Washburn and passes through Lake Mitchell and Eagle Lake and then into Little Pine Lake which is on the Whitefish Chain. An oil spill into Daggett Brook could find it’s way to these three lakes.
  7. View more information about Enbridge Pipeline history and spills.


The following 4 references will provide more detailed information than what is contained in the General Information above.

  1. In the April 23, 2019 edition of the “Northland Press” there is an article titled “Friends of the Headwaters Taking the PUC to the Court of Appeals”. This article contains current information and and a summary of events and actions that have occurred with the replacement pipeline process since 2013.
  2. The Friends of the Headwaters website also contains information on the events and actions of the process since 2013.
  3. The third reference is a letter that was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) From the Whitefish Property Owners Association (WAPOA) in February 2019. The author of the letter was Tom Watson. The letter provides detailed information on the following topics tourism/travel, water quality, watersheds, property values (especially seasonal properties), Enbridge’s spill record (over 800 spills in 12 years) and other topics that relate to the pipeline.
  4. MN. DNR website. Mndnr.gov/line3

Please consider taking some time to submit some comments to the DNR by May 17, 2019.

Comments should relate to the permits the DNR are responsible for but there is no reason to not make comments that reflect your opinion or feelings about not having an oil pipeline 6 – 10 miles north of Fifty Lakes. One oil spill north of the city could cause some real problems for our environment on both the land and in the water.

Some other things to think about:

  • 80% plus of the oil in the pipeline will end up in refineries in Canada, the East Coast or the Gulf Coast of the United States.
  • Is there a need for this pipeline? With the move towards a carbon-free environment and the increased development of renewable energy the need for oil should be decreasing.
  • In 2017 a consultant for the Minnesota Department of Commerce said we don’t need the replacement pipeline, there is enough crude oil in the system to satisfy the need.
  • No need for a new pipeline through a pristine and ecological sensitive environment.

Thanks for your time, care and support of our precious Minnesota land and lakes!