The much-maligned proposed Line 3 Pipeline has hit another bump in the road; a contested case hearing for Enbridge's 340-mile proposed pipeline has been scheduled by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The outcome of this upcoming meeting is important as it could jeopardize final approval from federal agencies.

At issue is more discussion about whether or not the proposed pipeline would harm wetlands. A joint effort between Minnesota tribes and assorted environmental groups have requested the hearing which is planned for later this summer.

According to news sources, if the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency determines that the project doesn't meet state standards for wetlands, Enbridge wouldn't get a 401 Certification for the project.  That 401 Certification is vitally important; without it, federal agencies can't issue licensing or approval for the project to continue.

The revision of course for the MPCA caught some off guard.  Earlier this year, they had released a draft of their final statement on the project to the general public.  In that draft, the agency said that they believed that Enbridge's proposed pipeline did meet water quality standards for the state.  Since that draft was released, the agency received "more than 20 requests" for additional hearing during a public comment period.  Those requests led to the decision to schedule the contested case hearing.

Left the way it was, the contested case hearing would jeopardize the projects federal chances; in order to accommodate the situation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers extended an important deadline - normally permits need to be either approved or denied within one year of the original application being filed.

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