In a pair of Aug. 9 tweets, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) shared its summary of the harm caused (so far) by Enbridge as crews drilled beneath our waterways to construct the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline. Below, we offer some context for these numbers, and why Minnesotans should be alarmed.
As we’ve previously written, of the more than 200 waterways that Line 3 will have to cross through northern Minnesota, Enbridge will be tunneling underneath 21 of them using a process called Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD).
As there has already been one documented frac-out at the Willow River HDD crossing (July 6), it is critical that we keep our eyes on these locations. Below, we have compiled some resources–including a new training video–to prepare volunteers for monitoring HDD locations.
Watch the Line’s project map depicts the road and water crossings along the Line 3 route, and can be a valuable resource for volunteers and the general public:
- Watch the Line volunteer monitors can reference the map before and during a monitoring trip to become familiar with their surroundings and navigate between observation sites.
- Anyone who wants to learn more about Line 3 can reference our map to better understand where construction is happening and its proximity to critical water resources and habitats.
We have created a video tutorial which goes over the key map features.
In January, Enbridge realized that it had vastly underestimated the amount of water needed for temporary trench dewatering during construction.
Dewatering is necessary when constructing a pipeline through wet areas. Excess water must be drawn out from the trench to protect workers and stabilize the soil. The water is later discharged back into the ecosystem. The appropriation of groundwater for dewatering requires a DNR (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) permit.
Enbridge Line 3 runs 337 miles across Northern Minnesota, passing through the state’s cleanest waters and wetlands; future spills are a major concern.
Pipe corrosion is one source of spills, along with such things as faulty welds or damage from heavy equipment working in the pipeline corridor.
Here’s a quick primer on corrosion.
Monitors have recently observed what looks like recent construction activity within the western area of Savanna State Forest, east of the AK-12 marker on our online map. Photos indicate digging and/or removal of topsoil, as well as staged pipes. Numerous signs indicate wetlands are present in and around this construction zone.
Enbridge Line 3 would travel 337 miles across northern Minnesota, crossing 200+ waterbodies along the way. In most cases, Enbridge plans to trench through them. At 21 different crossings, Enbridge is going to tunnel underneath the waterbody, using a process called Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD).
Enbridge will use HDD to tunnel under the Mississippi River at two separate locations.
Watch the Line monitors have seen the preparation work at several sites. Here’s what we’ll be looking for when the company is getting ready to drill.
Watch the Line MN is a citizen-led effort to lawfully monitor construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota. We oppose this pipeline as a threat to the water and land, a violation of Anishinaabeg treaty rights, and a dangerous escalation of climate change. Our volunteer monitors have been traveling along the Line 3 route since construction began in December 2020, documenting the environmental damage. We have published all of our observations for public use.
With this blog, we intend to engage our volunteer monitors, alert the broader coalition opposed to Line 3, and inform the public about matters relating to Line 3 construction. We will provide updates on construction, interpretations of our observations, educational resources, and more.
We invite you to send comments, questions, or ideas for future posts to email@example.com.