By: Matthew Koch
Yesterday in Minnesota a federal court rejected efforts by environmentalists who are fighting against pipeline companies and the importation of Canadian light and heavy crude oil, including oil sands crude. Emboldened by their victory against Keystone XL and their abuse of the Presidential permit process, the ruling is likely a surprise setback for environmentalists.
Canadian pipeline-company Enbridge plans to replace sections of existing older cross-border pipeline (“Line 3”) as part of scheduled maintenance and repair. For safety and security purposes, Presidential permits, needed to construct and operate cross border infrastructure, allow and require maintenance and repair. Since the pipeline is currently operating at a lower capacity for safety reasons, the repairs will have the additional benefit of enabling more crude to flow through the pipe and into the United States, drawing the ire of anti-fossil fuel green groups.
Away from the U.S. - Canada border, Enbridge is also constructing interconnects between Line 3 and another of their cross-border crude oil pipelines (“Line 67”). These interconnects will increase the crude oil throughput capacity of the portion of Line 67’s south of the border. More oil from our safe, reliable ally to the north is welcomed, and a good thing for American energy security.
Environmentalists sued the State Department claiming that its allowing Enbridge to increase flow through their pipelines violated Enbridge's Presidential permit and other federal permits, and they should be stopped. Yesterday’s ruling was a strong push back and a clear victory against green groups that are using every means available, especially the courts and the regulatory system, to stop the construction of infrastructure necessary to safely deliver energy throughout North America. Simply, the federal judge determined that Enbridge is following the rules and is doing what is allowable by the federal permits, and that the State Department doesn't have authority over portions of the pipeline that don't cross the border.
Unfortunately, this is only one of many energy infrastructure projects whose construction is being delayed and crippled by people exploiting our system. Reform is necessary and long overdue, and in the meantime, we are missing out on economic opportunity and limiting our energy security.