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Enbridge ordered to pay $3 million for groundwater leak

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have ordered Enbridge to pay more than $3 million for allegedly violating state environmental law by piercing a groundwater aquifer during construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Enbridge, while working near Clearbrook last January, dug too deeply into the ground and pierced an artesian aquifer which resulted in a 24 million gallon groundwater leak.

“Enbridge’s actions are a clear violation of state law, and also of the public trust,” said Barb Naramore, DNR deputy commissioner. “That is why we are using all of the tools in our authority to address the situation.”

It wasn’t until mid-June that the DNR discovered something was wrong after speaking to independent construction monitors who had observed water pooling in the pipeline trench near Clearbrook.

The DNR has ordered Enbridge to put $2.7 million into escrow for restoration and damage to nearby wetlands. Enbridge is also required to pay $300,000 to mitigate the lost groundwater and $250,000 for long-term monitoring of the wetlands.

Enbridge’s 340-mile Line 3 pipeline will carry Canadian crude across northern Minnesota to the company’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline, opposed by environmental groups and some Ojibwe tribes, is 90 % complete.

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