ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz says his administration will continue to appeal regulatory approval of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota.

State utility regulators last summer approved Enbridge Energy’s plans to build a new $2.6 billion pipeline to replace the aging and corroding Line 3. But, former Gov. Mark Dayton’s Department of Commerce appealed that decision. Walz on Tuesday said his administration will continue that effort.

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In response to Walz’s announcement, Enbridge released a statement:

“The Walz administration’s decision to continue an appeal of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s unanimous decision to approve the project’s Certificate of Need is unfortunate. The Commission’s approval came at the end of a thorough review of the facts, spanning four years, thousands of hours of environmental and cultural study, and substantial public comments. Enbridge believes the Commission will deny petitions for reconsideration as they have in the past.

Our focus is on actively working with the Walz administration and agencies to develop a clear sense of the schedule for the permits necessary to begin construction of the Line 3 Replacement project.”

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Faith leaders gathered in his office last Friday to urge an appeal, while a mostly Republican group of lawmakers urged him to let the project move forward.

Honor the Earth, an indigenous-based environmental group, has also been vocal in its opposition to the pipeline.

“We applaud Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan for standing with us in the fight to protect the rights, health, and way of life of the Ojibwe people,” said Joe Plumer, Attorney for the Red Lake and White Earth Bands. “The PUC was wrong to allow Enbridge to build Line 3 through treaty-protected lands, and we look forward to making our case in court.”

Last month, scientists from the activist group Science for the People went to his office to say the Line 3 upgrade will aggravate climate change by facilitating further use of fossil fuels.

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