A controversial Enbridge pipeline received a State Department permit October 13 that will allow it to pump 890,000 barrels of oil per day—more than the capacity of Keystone itself—from the Alberta tar sands/oil sands to North Dakota.
“Enbridge has built the equivalent of a Keystone XL pipeline without gaining the kind of attention that Keystone got,” said Vermont Law School professor and senior attorney Kenneth Rumelt, who represented several environmental and Indigenous groups in opposing the project. “Other than our suit, it largely slipped under the radar. But really, this is a quiet Keystone XL pipeline.”
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In fact, InsideClimate News reports, Enbridge didn’t even need approval to get the pipeline operating at full capacity. By connecting it with Line 3—a doubling in capacity approved under the guise of a rebuild—the company was able to fast-track the project and circumvent opposition.
“Several Indigenous and environmental groups challenged the arrangement, but lost in court,” ICN notes. “With the Trump administration’s approval of the expanded Line 67 permit, Enbridge no longer needs the work-around.”
The Line 67 approval won’t increase the flow of southbound bitumen yet, writes reporter Nicholas Kusnetz: Enbridge is trying to expand Line 3, but that decision is currently before a court in Minnesota, with the state government arguing the line should be shut down.
According to information released during the permitting process, the tar sands/oil sands output carried by Line 67 will produce about 21% more greenhouse gases than the average oil refinery mix.