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the Enbridge Line 3 Wetland and Waterway Permit and WEPA Compliance Determination [PDF].
the Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 final EIS, Volume 1, Chapters 1 - 9 [PDF].
the Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 final EIS, Volume 2, Appendices [PDF].

Subscribe to email updates about the Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 EIS.

Contact information
For more information on DNR's review of these projects, please contact:
Ben Callan
Integrated Services Section
For more information on the EIS process, please contact:
Adam Mednick
Environmental Analysis and Sustainability program

Enbridge Sandpiper & Line 3 Pipelines EIS

Sandpiper & Line 3 location
Project location in Wisconsin
View larger map.

Enbridge (U.S.) Inc. and Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership (collectively referred to as “Enbridge”) own and operate a pipeline system that transports crude petroleum to serve refineries in the Midwestern states.

In February 2014, Enbridge, Inc. applied for permits from the DNR for two proposals. Enbridge had proposed construction of 14 miles of new 30 inch diameter crude oil pipeline would be the Wisconsin portion of a larger project from the Bakken Shale region in North Dakota through Minnesota to Superior. The full project would have been about 616 miles long, and was known as the “Sandpiper Pipeline.”

In a December 19, 2016 letter to the DNR, Enbridge withdrew their permit applications for the Wisconsin portion of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline project.

Enbridge also proposed and received a permit for wetland and waterway crossings for replacement of an existing 34 inch diameter pipeline, known as "Line 3" which will follow 14 mile alignment in the town of Superior, village of Superior and city of Superior, and terminating at the Enbridge Superior Terminal. Construction on the Line 3 project is expected to occur in 2017.

The DNR completed an environmental impact statement (EIS) process for these two projects. The final EIS informs decision-makers and the public about the anticipated effects of the proposed projects and alternatives, and looks at direct local effects, as well as broader impacts at regional, statewide and larger scales.

Enbridge also submitted an application for an Air Pollution Control construction permit under NR 400-499 (Wis. Adm. Code). The Air Pollution Control construction permit has been temporarily withdrawn by Enbridge.

Proposed projects

Sandpiper and Line 3 Location
Project location in Douglas County
View larger map.

Line 3 pipeline replacement

Enbridge is replacing its existing 34-inch-diameter Line 3 with new 36-inch-diameter pipe as part of an on-going maintenance program. In Wisconsin, the Line 3 pipeline replacement will be adjacent to the existing right-of-way from the Wisconsin state border to the Superior Terminal.

Enbridge owns and operates the 324-mile-long Line 3, originally installed in 1968, as part of its U.S. mainline system. Enbridge conducted thorough internal inspections of Line 3 as part of its ongoing system-wide pipeline integrity program and is replacing all of Line 3 in Wisconsin. Enbridge will replace the existing 34-inch-diameter Line 3 pipeline with new 36-inch-diameter pipe. The 36-inch is a more current industry standard size and also would be a more energy efficient pipeline. Replacing the pipe will increase its service life and reduce the frequency and magnitude of the ongoing maintenance activities that would otherwise occur in order to maintain the safe operation of Line 3. This will be beneficial to landowners, local communities, and the environment. The existing pipeline will be purged of crude oil, filled with nitrogen, capped, cathodically protected, maintained and rendered inactive in accordance with U.S. Code 49 CFR 195.

Enbridge Line 3 project web page

Sandpiper pipeline

In a December 19, 2016 letter to the DNR, Enbridge withdrew their permit applications for the Wisconsin portion of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline project.

The proposed Sandpiper Pipeline would have spanned approximately 616 miles from Tioga, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. From the existing Beaver Lodge station south of Tioga to a new Enbridge Clearbrook Terminal in Minnesota, Sandpiper would have consisted of a 24-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline and associated facilities. Exiting Clearbrook to the south, Sandpiper would have consisted of a 30-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline and associated facilities to Enbridge’s Superior Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Applicants indicate that Sandpiper would have delivered an annual capacity of 375,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Clearbrook, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

The purpose of Sandpiper was to transport the growing production of domestic crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks formations in the Williston Basin of eastern Montana and western North Dakota to meet the increased demands of refineries and markets in the Midwest and the East Coast.

The Bakken formation is currently the largest contributor to the total crude oil production in the Williston Basin, the oil industry refers to all of the crude oil production in the Williston Basin as “Bakken crude oil”. The Williston Basin spans parts of western North Dakota, eastern Montana and parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Enbridge Sandpiper project web page

Associated aboveground facilities

Enbridge will install two mainline valves for the Line 3 replacement pipeline in Wisconsin. The Line 3 replacement pipeline will require installation of a densitometer for batch detection, and a pressure relief and a receiving trap within the fenced property of Enbridge’s existing Superior Terminal. The Sandpiper project would have required installation of custody transfer metering, a meter prover, pressure control valves, and a sampling facility.

Project schedule

The department has issued a permit for wetland and waterway crossings for the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline project. Construction on the Line 3 project is expected to occur in 2017.

Pipeline facilities

The pipe for the Projects would meet the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) requirements under U.S. Code 49 CFR Part 195. The pipe would be manufactured and constructed in accordance with standards issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Association for Corrosion Engineers, and API. All of the pipe would be manufactured with fusion-bond epoxy coating to protect against corrosion and would be inspected and integrity-tested at the factory.

At a minimum, Enbridge would bury the pipeline in accordance with USDOT regulations (40 CFR Part 195), which stipulate a minimum of 3 feet of top cover for normal excavations, and 18 to 30 inches of cover for rock excavations (depending on the location), to prevent damage to the pipeline from normal use of the land. The depth of cover in Wisconsin would vary from 36 to 48 inches, depending on permit requirements, landowner agreements, and site-specific conditions (e.g., depth of drain tile).

Mainline valves are installed along pipelines that transport liquids to limit the volume of a spill if one were to occur. Enbridge conducted an analysis to determine the most appropriate locations for mainline valves in compliance with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 195.

Land requirements

Enbridge generally proposes to use a 90-foot-wide construction right-of-way for the new 36-inch-diameter pipeline, which would allow for temporary storage of topsoil and spoil as well as accommodate safe operation of construction equipment. The construction corridor would generally include existing permanently maintained rights-of-way and temporary workspaces. The construction right-of-way would be divided between the spoil side (area used to store topsoil and excavated materials) and the working side (equipment work area and travel lane).

Enbridge system

Enbridge owns and operates the United States portion of the world’s longest liquid petroleum pipeline system. Combined with the Canadian portion of the pipeline system, owned by Enbridge Pipelines, Inc., the operationally integrated pipeline system spans approximately 3,200 miles across North America and has been in operation since 1950. Detailed information on Company ownership and structure is included on the Company’s web site at or Enbridge deliveries to refining centers in the Midwest account for approximately 10 percent of total U.S. oil imports.

In Wisconsin, the existing Enbridge right-of-way currently contains six pipelines:

  • Line 1 is an 18-inch diameter crude oil pipeline installed in 1950.
  • Line 2 is a 26-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that was installed in 1957.
  • Line 3 is a 34-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that was installed in 1967.
  • Line 4 (also referred to as “Terrace 3”) is a 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that was installed in 2002.
  • The Alberta Clipper (Line 67) pipeline is a 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline that was constructed in 2009 and 2010.
  • The Southern Lights (Line 13) pipeline is a 20-inch-diameter diluent return pipeline collocated with the Alberta Clipper pipeline and also constructed in 2009 and 2010.


The following permits and reviews will be required for these projects in Wisconsin.

DNR review and permitting

  • Water resources permits
  • State endangered resources review and potential incidental take permit
  • Air permit
  • Temporary water use permit
  • Hydrostatic test discharge permit
  • WPDES construction stormwater general permit for pipeline construction

Other Wisconsin agency reviews and permitting

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
  • Public interest determination

On March 14, 2014, Enbridge, Inc. filed an application with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) requesting that the Commission determine that the acquisition of permanent easements and additional temporary workspace for the Sandpiper and Line 3 projects is in the public interest pursuant to Wisconsin Statute section 32.02(13). On February 23, 2016, Enbridge withdrew their request to the PSCW.

PSCW project docket

State Historic Preservation Office
  • Cultural resources consultation, NHPA Section 106 clearance
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Agricultural protection plan
Department of Transportation
  • Road crossing permits

Tribal consultation

The Voigt Intertribal Task Force (VITF), a part of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), recommends policy regarding inland harvest seasons and resource management issues. The VITF addresses matters that affect the treaty rights of the member tribes in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty ceded territories. The VITF recommends harvest seasons and regulations for each inland season to the respective tribal councils for ratification prior to becoming an ordinance. The WDNR is consulting with the Voigt Commission regarding Tribal issues.

Local review and permitting

City of Superior
  • Erosion control/grading permit

Federal review and permitting

US Army Corps of Engineers – St. Paul District
  • Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for waters of the U.S. and wetlands
US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Section 7 Endangered Species Act consultation

Water resources permits

The department has issued a permit for wetland and waterway crossings for the Line 3 Replacement Pipeline project.

Additional permit review information will be included here as it becomes available.

Other DNR permitting

Information on the status of DNR's review will be posted here as it becomes available.

Endangered resources review

Enbridge is working with the DNR's Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation regarding the proposed projects.

Air permitting

Enbridge is working with the DNR's air management bureau on an application for an Air Pollution Control construction permit under NR 400-499 (Wis. Adm. Code).

Stormwater permitting

Enbridge is working with the DNR's watershed management bureau on a Construction Site Erosion Control permit under NR 216 (Wis. Adm. Code).


The department recognizes the overwhelming public interest in Enbridge operations and wants to ensure transparency in the evaluation of the proposed pipeline projects. The DNR therefore followed the EIS process for the proposed Line 3 and Sandpiper projects.

Public scoping

As a first step in the process, the DNR sought public input on what topics should be addressed in the EIS. We received public comments through September 30, 2014. Comments were also received at a public meeting that was held on August 25, 2014 at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Superior Campus conference room, 600 North 21st St., in Superior.

Environmental impact report and supporting documents

As a part of the scoping process for the draft EIS, Enbridge submitted an environmental impact report (EIR) on May 23, 2014. The EIR is Enbridge's description of their proposed projects and their analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposals.

In addition to the public scoping comments, the DNR considered information in the EIR, supplemental information and supporting environmental data in the development of the EIS.

Public review

The public was invited to provide comments on the draft EIS from February 24 until March 25, 2016. The department also held a public hearing on March 10, 2016 at the Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Avenue, Superior, WI. The hearing transcript is available for review. Approximately 50 people attended the hearing. We are very grateful for everyone who attended the hearing or submitted comments. DNR staff compiled all public comments received at the public hearing and in writing. DNR staff prepared responses to these public comments and made edits to the EIS. DNR's responses to these public comments are available as a part of the final EIS.

The final EIS is available at these links:

EIS process

The EIS process is outlined in Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code.

This EIS followed these general steps.

  1. Scoping - defining the topics and information sources to be considered and the analytical methods to be employed. This step includes written public input and a public meeting.
  2. EIS consultant selection.
  3. Information gathering and analysis, and draft EIS document preparation.
  4. Public review - at least 30 days must be allotted for public review of the draft, and a hearing will be held. The comment period can be extended if the DNR receives reasonable requests to do so.
  5. Comment response - the department will consider all comments received, and may revise the analysis if warranted.
  6. A final EIS document including all comments and supporting information will be published along with a determination that the DNR has complied with the requirements of Chapter NR 150 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, and section 1.11 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
  7. Final permit decisions can be made once the final EIS has been published < we are here.
Last revised: Tuesday May 07 2019