U.S. must give oil sands pipeline plan fresh review, green groups say

Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:46pm EST
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WASHINGTON Nov 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department must halt plans to expand an oil sands pipeline route from Canada to Wisconsin until possible environmental harm has been closely studied, several green groups said in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

An Enbridge Inc proposal for its Line 3 pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin is part of a $7.5 billion upgrade on its system that would help oil sands producers in Western Canada reach refineries in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere.

Such cross-border projects typically require State Department approval, but officials told the company in June that the most thorough review is not needed in the case of this expansion plan.

A federal court should halt the project until there has been "a review of the pipeline's environmental impacts," according to the suit, filed by eight activists groups including Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity.

Green groups want a thorough review akin to the ongoing, years-long State Department examination of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal - a project that would carry as much as 830,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude per day and that has become a political lightening rod.

A representative for Enbridge, Canada's largest pipeline operator, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is: 0:14-cv-04726 (Reporting By Patrick Rucker; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)