Enbridge Energy’s (ticker: ENB) Alberta Clipper pipeline (Line 67) is the focus of a new federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday. The pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Minnesota, currently carries 450,000 BOD across the U.S.-Canadian border, but Enbridge would like to increase that capacity to 880,000 BOD, Bloomberg reports. A single-line volume increase of that size requires U.S. government approval, which is pending.
While it is waiting for approval to increase the volume in the Alberta Clipper, Enbridge has decided to increase the Alberta Clipper’s capacity to 570,000 BOD, and use a parallel pipeline, called Line 3, to make the border crossing. The plan, which the State Department signed off on, uses the Canadian portion of the Alberta Clipper to move oil south, transfers over into Line 3 for the border crossing, and transfers back again into the Alberta Clipper once on the U.S. side of the border
According to the federal court complaint filed by the Sierra Club, the White Earth Nation and several other groups, the State Department breached federal law by allowing Enbridge to start work on its expansion project without first requiring the environmental impact assessment. “It’s very, very worrisome that the State Department is allowing Enbridge to refuse to go through the standard U.S. environmental review process,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity to MPR News. The groups filing the lawsuit say there needs to be an assessment of whether the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change before any kind of volume increase occurs.
Keystone XL: Poised for Votes in Both House and Senate
Media outlets in the U.S. and Canada are reporting that both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate will bring the Keystone XL pipeline to separate votes as early as tomorrow for the House bill and Nov. 18 for the Senate version. The pipeline project has been delayed for six years by the U.S. government.
President Obama has been critical of pipeline projects that might increase greenhouse gas emissions in the past, causing other projects, like TransCanada’s (ticker: TRP) Keystone XL Pipeline, to be delayed. The expansion of the Alberta Clipper could bring it on par with Keystone, which the groups filing the suit have noted is a troubling double standard. Doug Hayes, a Sierra Club attorney, told St. Paul Pioneer Press “the administration is contradicting itself. The same climate test (being applied to Keystone) should be applied to all cross-border pipelines.”
Enbridge said in a statement released today that, “[The Company] believes that the State Department has acted lawfully in connection with its presidential permitting responsibilities… We constructed interconnections between the existing Line 67 and Line 3 pipelines in both Canada and the U.S. … using existing permitted cross-border capacity.”
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