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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 1950s. Information on Enbridge's pipeline systems can be found on the company's website at Enbridge.com.

Public Comments Available – Draft EIS on Enbridge Line 5

In December 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 received and is reviewing more than 32,000 public comments on the Draft EIS – from individuals, businesses, organizations, governing bodies, agencies and officials. These comments are available below, under DNR Review of Public Comments

For information on the status of the EIS process, see EIS Process and Supporting Materials below. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation regulates pipeline safety, construction, inspection, capacity expansion, and maintenance through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA is responsible for ensuring the safe and secure transport of hazardous materials, such as crude oil, to consumers by pipeline. PHMSA sets regulations that address safety in the design, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, and emergency response preparedness for petroleum pipelines and related facilities.

Pipeline construction projects often involve federal permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for impacts to Waters of the United States. This is separate from the DNR permitting process.

DNR regulatory authorities are triggered if construction is proposed through wetlands, across waterways, and for erosion control. Certain construction projects may also trigger air permits. The DNR coordinates with USACE on wetland and waterway permitting. The DNR does not have the authority to regulate the amount of material flowing in a pipeline. No agency in Wisconsin has the authority to determine the need for or siting of petroleum pipelines.

Line 5 Relocation Project

Enbridge2020Map.jpg
Proposed Relocation Route & Alternatives
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. 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. Enbridge must receive all necessary federal, state and local permits and approvals before construction of the proposed Line 5 relocation project can begin.

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, and 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 is a list of permits, approvals and reviews anticipated to be required for the proposed Line 5 Relocation Project. 

Note: With the exception of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the authorities summarized below apply only to pipeline construction. Neither the DNR nor the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have regulatory authority over the siting or operation of liquid petroleum pipelines.

  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
    • PHMSA sets performance standards for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and safety of pipelines that transport liquid petroleum under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 190-199
    • PHMSA monitors Enbridge's compliance through field inspections, programmatic reviews, incident investigations and corrective actions.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District:
    • Detailed information on USACE's review of the proposed project is available at USACE's Enbridge Line 5 - Wisconsin segment relocation web page.
    • On Feb. 10, 2020, Enbridge submitted an application to USACE for discharges of dredged or fill material in Waters of the United States, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), and for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) beneath the White River, under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
      • Per Sec. 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, USACE is reviewing the effects of the proposed project on historic properties in consultation with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and the State Historic Preservation Office.
      • Per Sec. 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the proposed project for potential impacts on federally-listed species.
      • Per Sec. 401 of the CWA, the DNR and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are reviewing the proposed project for compliance with their respective water quality standards for waters that could be affected. 
      • Per Sec. 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program is reviewing the proposed project for federal consistency with the state coastal management program. 
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR):
      • On Feb. 11, 2020, Enbridge filed an application for a Wetland Fill Permit under Ch. 281.36, Wis. Stats., and Waterway Crossing permits under Ch. 30, Wis. Stats. The application can be found in the DNR's ePermitting System (docket # WP-IP-NO-2020-2-X02-11T12-18-51).
      • As part of its review of Enbridge's wetland permit application, the DNR is reviewing the proposed project for compliance with the State's water quality standards under Sec. 401 of the Clean Water Act.
      • On Sept. 9, 2020, Enbridge filed an application for a Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) Permit for Construction Site Storm Water. The application can be found in the DNR's ePermitting System (docket # SW-GP-NO-2020-2-X09-23T11-31-30).
      • On Aug. 4, 2021, Enbridge filed an application for coverage under the WPDES General Permit for Discharge related to Hydrostatic Testing of Petroleum systems.
      • On Jan. 15, 2020, Enbridge submitted a State Endangered Resources Review. Enbridge also submitted an updated Review on Feb. 15, 2022.
      • The DNR is reviewing the proposed project for its impacts on historic and cultural resources in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State Historic Preservation Office, and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.
      • The DNR is engaged in government-to-government consultations with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and all of the federally-recognized tribes in Wisconsin (collectively) regarding the department's review of the proposed project.
      • Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa:
        • The Mashkiiziibii (Bad River) Natural Resources Department is reviewing the proposed project for compliance with the Bad River Band's water quality standards for downstream waters within the Bad River Reservation, under Sec. 401 of the Clean Water Act.
        • The Bad River Band is engaged in government-to-government consultations, respectively, with the USACE and the DNR on their reviews of the proposed project.     
      • Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
        • The proposed project will require road crossing permits.
      • Local Governments:
        • The proposed project may require permits, approvals, or reviews 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 overall process includes the following phases:

      1. Public Scoping
      2. Information Gathering, Analysis, and Preparation of the Draft EIS
      3. Public Review of the Draft EIS
      4. DNR Review of Public Comments  < we are here
      5. Finalize the EIS

      The following is a summary of the DNR's EIS process for Enbridge's proposed relocation of Line 5 – together with supporting materials. These include public, tribal and agency comments, DNR requests for information, and Enbridge's responses to those requests:

      1. Public Scoping:
      2. Information Gathering, Analysis, and Preparation of the Draft EIS:
      3. Public Review of the Draft EIS
      4. DNR Review of Public Comments
      5. Finalize the EIS:
        • The DNR will consider all comments provided during the public comment period – together with any other pertinent information that it acquires or receives – in preparing a Final EIS.
        • The DNR will request additional project information, as needed, from Enbridge. 
        • The DNR will conduct additional analyses, as needed, in cooperation with federal and tribal agencies.
        • The DNR will revise the Draft EIS, in consultation with federal and tribal agencies.
        • The DNR will prepare a Comment Response document summarizing comments provided during the public comment period – along with responses to those comments, including changes to the Final EIS.
        • The DNR will publish the Final EIS on this web page, along with the Comment Response document and a determination of compliance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA).
        • The DNR will synchronize and coordinate the activities listed above with activities conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
        • 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:

      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.