MNR fines Enbridge $3.32 million for failing to comply with environmental laws

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ordered Enbridge Energy to pay $3.32 million for failing to comply with environmental laws.

According to a DNR news release, Enbridge breached the containment layer of an artesian aquifer, resulting in unauthorized appropriation of groundwater during construction of the Line 3 project near Enbridge’s Clearbrook Terminal. The DNR civil enforcement orders require Enbridge to pay mitigation and penalty funds of $3.32 million.

MNR’s restoration order also requires Enbridge to implement a restoration plan to stop unauthorized groundwater flow within 30 days.

Separately, the DNR has also referred this case to the Clearwater County District Attorney for criminal prosecution. The DNR has determined that Enbridge Energy has violated a Minnesota statue that makes it a crime to take “state waters without first obtaining a permit from the commissioner.” The criminal referral and civil enforcement orders resulted from an investigation into Line 3 construction activities near Enbridge’s Clearbrook Terminal.

Juli Kellner, communications specialist for Enbridge, told Lakeland News that Enbridge has just received a communication from the DNR and is reviewing the document. She says, “Enbridge has been working with the DNR since June to provide the required site information and approval of a corrective action plan which is currently being implemented. We share a strong desire to protect Minnesota’s waters and the environment and are committed to restoring them.

In response to the DNR post, Honor the Earth’s Winona LaDuke also released a statement, saying “Enbridge is a rogue corporation that caused the largest inland oil spill in US history. and which has now damaged Minnesota’s most precious waters during the construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline The Biden administration would only do basic due diligence by eventually requiring an environmental impact statement (EIA) complete before any the oil goes into this hastily constructed new pipeline. Minnesota state leaders, such as Governor Walz and Senators Smith and Klobuchar, should mitigate the damage already done to our water — and protect our shared climate — by asking the U.S. Army Corps for a full EIS before that more oil sands crude flows.

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