The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will extend the comment period on its permits for Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline to April 10 and hold a series of public-comment phone calls.

The MPCA is looking for comments on Line 3's draft permits — a wastewater permit, air quality permit and a 401 Water Quality Certification. All are required before the company can start construction on the controversial 340-mile-long pipeline through northern Minnesota. The pipeline would replace Enbridge's existing 50-year-old Line 3, but follow a new route through much of Minnesota.

A series of in-person public-comment meetings on the permits were canceled earlier this month due to concerns of spreading COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Instead, MPCA said it will conduct three 90-minute statewide telephone town hall meetings. The public can call into the telephone town hall, share a two-minute comment and listen to other public comments. The comments will be included in the official public record, the MPCA said.

The telephone town hall meetings are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, April 2 from 2–3:30 p.m
  • Tuesday, April 7 from 6:30–8 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 9 from 10– 11:30 a.m.

More information will be released later, the MPCA said.

Written comments can be made online or can still be made online until April 10. Instructions can be found at the MPCA's website.

Enbridge's proposed pipeline would carry 760,000 barrels of oil (31.92 million gallons) per day from Alberta, Canada, to the Enbridge terminal in Superior.

This story originally contained the incorrect date of the end of the comment period. It was updated at 9:10 a.m. March 25 with the correct comment period end date of April 10. The News Tribune regrets the error. Additional information clarifying the replacement pipeline's route was also added.