Enbridge Pipeline Projects in Wisconsin
Enbridge, Inc. owns and operates a liquid petroleum pipeline system that spans over 17,000 miles across Canada and the U.S., including the Lakehead (U.S. Mainline) System, which has been in operation since the 1950's. Information on Enbridge's pipeline systems can be found on the company's website at Enbridge.com.
Public Input Opportunity – Draft EIS on Enbridge Line 5
On Dec. 16, 2021, the DNR released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Enbridge's proposed relocation of its Line 5 petroleum pipeline in Ashland, Bayfield and Iron Counties. Access the two-volume Draft EIS below, under Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The DNR will hold a virtual Public Hearing on the Draft EIS on Wednesday, Feb. 2, starting at 4 p.m. The hearing will be held on Zoom, which can be accessed by computer or phone. To attend the hearing and provide verbal comments by computer, you must register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the hearing. To join by phone, use the following toll-free number: 1-888-475-4499. When prompted, enter the following conference ID: 871 8245 2125.
If you do not wish to provide testimony during the hearing and only want to listen, you can watch a live feed of the hearing on YouTube. The hearing will be recorded for later viewing.
You are also invited to provide written comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Comments can be sent by email to DNROEEACOMMENTS@WI.GOV or by U.S. mail to "Line 5 EIS Comments, DNR (EA/7)," 101 South Webster Street, Madison, WI 53707. All electronic and hardcopy comments must be submitted or postmarked no later than Friday, March 4, 2022.
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 the authority to determine the 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 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does not have the authority to regulate the amount of material flowing in any pipeline.
Line 5 Relocation Project
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. Enbridge is proposing a reroute of Line 5 around the Bad River Reservation.
Additional information regarding the segment of Line 5 within the Bad River Reservation, including a lawsuit filed by the Bad River Band, can be found in this brochure created by the Mashkiiziibii Natural Resources Department.
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. Enbridge must receive all necessary local, state and federal permits and/or approvals before construction of the Line 5 relocation project can begin.
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 in the DNR's ePermitting System (docket # WP-IP-NO-2020-2-X02-11T12-18-51).
- WPDES Construction Site Storm Water Permit – A Construction Site Storm Water Permit Application was filed with the DNR on 9/23/2020. The application can be found in the DNR’s ePermitting System (docket # SW-GP-NO-2020-2-X09-23T11-31-30).
- Hydrostatic test discharge permit – Enbridge is consulting with DNR staff. A permit application has not been filed.
- State Endangered Resources review and potential Incidental Take permit – Enbridge is consulting with DNR staff and has submitted an Endangered Resources Review.
- Cultural resources consultation.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District:
- Detailed information is available at USACE Enbridge Line 5 - Wisconsin segment relocation.
- Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for discharges of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States.
- Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 permit for horizontal directional drilling under the White River.
- Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act consultation.
- Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC):
- Enbridge filed an application with the PSC on 2/7/2020 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. Enbridge withdrew this application on 8/7/2020.
- Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO):
- Cultural resources consultation, National Historic Preservation Act
- 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
- Coastal Zone Management Federal Consistency Review
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
- Section 7 Endangered Species Act consultation
Tribal Coordination, including Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO)
- Reviews, permits, and/or approvals from the applicable local authorities.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
The DNR has completed a Draft EIS to inform decision-makers and the public about the environmental and socioeconomic effects of Enbridge's proposed relocation of Line 5 and alternatives to that project.
EIS Process and Supporting Materials
The DNR's procedures for preparing an EIS are outlined in Chapter NR 150, Wis. Adm. Code.
The following is a summary of the process used for the EIS on Enbridge's proposed relocation of Line 5, along with supporting materials. These include public, tribal and agency comments, DNR requests for information, and Enbridge's responses to those requests.
- Public Scoping:
- On June 8, 2020, the DNR issued a public notice announcing a public hearing and comment period on the proposed scope of the EIS, as represented by a draft outline.
- On July 1, 2020, the DNR held a public hearing on the proposed scope of the EIS and on Enbridge's application for a waterway and wetland permit. View the video recording.
- The DNR received over 2,100 written comments between June 8 and July 11, 2020. View these comments here:
Public Scoping Comments
Scoping Comments from Local and Tribal Governments
Many of the comments received during the public hearing and comment period concerned the status of Enbridge's pending waterway and wetland permit application as "complete" and legal language in the public notice regarding the tentative determination to approve with modifications. This language is further explained in a Public Hearing FAQ.
- Information Gathering, Analysis, and Preparation of the Draft EIS:
- In August 2020, Enbridge submitted a Revised Environmental Impact Report, as part of its application for DNR wetland fill and waterway crossing permits for the proposed project.
- In August 2020, the DNR contracted with TRC Environmental Corporation to prepare a Draft EIS.
- The scope of the EIS analysis was determined based on comments received during Public Scoping and in consultation with tribal governments and federal agencies.
- Subject area experts at TRC and the DNR gathered information, conducted analyses, and drafted or reviewed portions of the Draft EIS.
- Between November 2020 and October 2021, the DNR made four requests for information for the EIS from Enbridge. View these information requests and responses here:
Additional information on the proposed project is included in materials Enbridge submitted as part of its permit applications. Access these materials from the DNR’s e-permitting system:
- Public Review of the Draft EIS:
- On Nov. 18, 2021, the DNR shared advance copies of the Draft EIS with tribal governments, federal agencies and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).
- Two tribal governments and GLIFWC submitted preliminary comments:
- On Dec. 16, 2021, the DNR posted the Draft EIS on this web page and initiated a public comment period running through March 4, 2022.
Written Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement
- On Feb. 2, 2022, the DNR will hold a virtual Public Hearing on the Draft EIS.
- Finalizing the EIS:
- The DNR will consider all comments received on the Draft EIS – as well as any other pertinent information that becomes known to the department – in its preparation of a Final EIS.
- The DNR will publish the Final EIS on this webpage, along with all comments received on the Draft EIS and a Comment Response document.
- The Comment Response document will summarize comments received along with the DNR's responses, including revisions made to the Final EIS.
- The DNR will issue a determination of compliance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (Ch. 1.11, Wis. Stats).
- No DNR permit decisions will be issued until after 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:
- Line 3 waterway and wetland permit and WEPA compliance determination for the Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 final EIS (EA-0228)
- Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 final EIS, Volume 1, Chapters 1 - 9 (EA-229)
- Enbridge Sandpiper/Line 3 final EIS, Volume 2, Appendices (EA-0230)
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 Dec. 19, 2016 letter to the DNR, Enbridge withdrew their permit applications for the Wisconsin portion of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline project.