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Contact information
For more information on DNR's review of these projects, please contact:
Ben Callan
Chief
Integration Services
608-266-3524

Enbridge Projects in Wisconsin

Enbridge, Inc. and Enbridge Energy Partners (collectively referred to as “Enbridge”), own and operate a liquid petroleum pipeline system that spans approximately 3,200 miles across North America and has been in operation since 1950’s. Detailed information on company ownership and structure is included on the company’s websites at Enbridge Energy Partners or Enbridge.

The DNR held an EIS scoping hearing for the proposed Line 5 relocation project on July 1, 2020. A recording of the hearing can be found here.

The US Department of Transportation regulates pipeline safety, construction, inspection, capacity expansion, and maintenance for all liquid petroleum pipelines through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA is responsible for protecting the public and the environment by ensuring the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials (e.g., crude oil) to consumers by pipeline. PHMSA sets regulations that address safety in the design, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, and emergency response preparedness for crude oil pipelines and related facilities.

Pipeline construction projects often involve federal permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for impacts to waters of the United States, which are separate from the Department of Natural Resources process.

No agency in Wisconsin has authority to determine need for and/or siting of petroleum pipelines.

The Department of Natural Resources regulatory authorities are triggered if construction is proposed through wetlands, across waterways, and for erosion control. Certain construction projects may also trigger air permits. Coordination with the USACE occurs on wetland/waterway permitting. The Department of Natural Resources does not have authority to regulate the amount of material flowing in any pipeline.

Line 5 Relocation Project

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

Proposed Line 5 Relocation Project

The existing Line 5 pipeline runs from Superior to the upper peninsula of Michigan through the straits of Mackinac and lower peninsula of Michigan to Canada. Line 5 crosses through approximately 12 miles of the Bad River Reservation of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe. In response to a lawsuit filed by the Bad River Band, Enbridge is proposing a reroute of Line 5 around the Bad River Reservation.

Enbridge is proposing to relocate a 41-mile-long portion of its existing Line 5 pipeline with new 30-inch diameter pipe within Ashland, Bayfield, and Iron County, WI. Construction of the Line 5 relocation project is expected to occur in 2021, pending the receipt of all necessary local, state, and federal permits and approvals.

Enbridge generally proposes to use a 120-foot wide construction right-of-way (ROW) for the new pipeline, which would allow for temporary storage of topsoil and subsoil, as well as to accommodate safe operation of construction equipment. The construction corridor would include a 50-foot wide permanent ROW plus temporary workspaces needed to complete construction.

Authorities

The following permits, approvals, and/or reviews are anticipated to be required for the proposed Line 5 Relocation Project:

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR):
    • Wetland fill permit under Ch. 281.36 (Wis. Stats.) and Waterway impact and crossing permit(s) under Ch. 30 (Wis. Stats.) - A wetland fill and waterway impact/crossing permit application was filed with the DNR on 2/11/2020. The application can be found here: https://permits.dnr.wi.gov/water/SitePages/Permit%20Search.aspx (then type WP-IP-NO-2020-2-X02-11T12-18-51 into the search bar).
    • Hydrostatic test discharge permit - Enbridge is working with DNR staff and a permit application has not yet been filed.
    • WPDES construction site stormwater permit – Enbridge is working with DNR staff and a permit application has not yet been filed.
    • State Endangered Resources review and potential Incidental Take permit – Enbridge is working with DNR staff and has submitted an Endangered Resources Review.
    • Cultural resources consultation
  • Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW):
    • Enbridge has filed an application with the PSCW requesting a determination pursuant to Ch. 32.02(13) (Wis. Stats.) that the proposed real estate interest acquisitions associated with the relocation of Line 5 are in the public interest.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO):
    • Cultural resources consultation, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Wisconsin Department of Agricultural, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP):
    • Agricultural protection plan
  • Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT):
    • Road crossing permits
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA):
    • Coastal Zone Management Federal Consistency Review
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District:
    • Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for waters of the U.S. and wetlands
    • Section 106 NHPA consultation
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
    • Section 7 Endangered Species Act consultation
  • Reviews, permits, and/or approvals from the applicable local authorities.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

The DNR recognizes the public interest in Enbridge operations and wants to ensure transparency in the evaluation of the proposed project. The DNR will complete an EIS for the proposed Line 5 Relocation Project. An EIS is a tool to help inform decision-makers and the public about the anticipated effects of a proposed project and alternatives, and analyzes direct local effects, as well as broader impacts at regional, statewide, and larger scales.

The EIS process is outlined in Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code. The EIS process follows the general steps outlined below. When any public hearings are scheduled, the date and location will be posted to this website, along with any public comment periods.

  1. Public scoping: The scoping process helps define the topics and information sources to be considered and the analytical methods to be employed. This step includes a public hearing and comment period to gather public input on the proposed scope, as represented by a draft outline of the EIS. < we are here
    • A public notice was issued on 6/8/2020 announcing the public scoping hearing.
    • The DNR held an EIS scoping hearing for the proposed Line 5 relocation project on July 1, 2020. A recording of the hearing can be found here.
    • Many of the comments received during the hearing & subsequent public comment period concerned the "complete" status of the pending permit application and legal language in the public notice regarding the tentative determination to approve with modifications. This language is further explained in the Public Hearing FAQ.
  2. Information gathering and analysis, and preparation of a Draft EIS document
  3. Publication of the Draft EIS.
  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.

Previous Enbridge Project Proposals in Wisconsin

Line 3 Replacement Project

Enbridge owns and operates the 324-mile-long Line 3, originally installed in 1968 between Alberta, Canada and Superior, WI. Enbridge conducted internal inspections of Line 3 as part of its ongoing system-wide pipeline integrity program and proposed a replacement of Line 3 in Wisconsin (referred to as Segment 18).

In Wisconsin, the Line 3 Replacement project consisted of replacing approximately 14 miles of the existing 34-inch-diameter pipeline with new 36-inch-diameter pipe. In Wisconsin, the Line 3 pipeline replacement is adjacent to the existing Enbridge right-of-way from the Minnesota state border to the Superior Terminal in Douglas County.

The DNR published an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Line 3 Replacement Project. The final EIS is available at these links:

Enbridge received their necessary local, state, and federal permits and approvals for the Line 3 Replacement project in Wisconsin. Construction of the Line 3 Replacement Project concluded in 2018.

Sandpiper Pipeline Project

In 2014, Enbridge applies for permits from the DNR for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project. In Wisconsin, the proposal consisted of 14 miles of new 30-inch diameter pipeline. The full project would have been approximately 616 miles long, running from North Dakota, through Minnesota to Superior, WI.

The DNR published an EIS, joint with the Line 3 Replacement Project. In a December 19, 2016 letter to the DNR, Enbridge withdrew their permit applications for the Wisconsin portion of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline project.

Last revised: Thursday July 16 2020