ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have issued a formal order approving a route permit for Enbridge Energy’s plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.

The Public Utilities Commission approved the project in June. Its written order Friday followed one last month granting a certificate of need. If the commission denies petitions to reconsider those formal orders, opponents can ask the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn them.

Alberta-based Enbridge says it needs to replace Line 3, which was built in the 1960s, because it’s increasingly subject to corrosion and cracking.

But opponents say the new line, which would follow a partly different route, risks oil spills in the pristine Mississippi River headwaters region where Native Americans harvest wild rice, and that it would aggravate climate change.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

CORRECTION: The Associated Press previously reported erroneously that Minnesota regulators had formally approved Enbridge’s replacement plan, thus clearing the way for an expected appeal by opponents. The state Public Utilities Commission must still hold hearings on petitions for reconsideration before opponents may take the matter to the Minnesota Court of Appeals

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