The project employed more than 500 indigenous workers and created more than 5,000 construction jobs across the region, he said. “We hoped that all parties would accept the outcome of the extensive scientific review and multiple approvals of the project. Line 3 has passed all tests for six years of regulatory review and licensing, ”he said.

So far, the protests have had little effect on construction, which began in December and was 60 percent complete, he said.

Built in the 1960s, the current pipeline has been beset by corrosion, leaks and spills, forcing Enbridge in 2008 to cut its capacity in half, to 390,000 barrels per day. In 2015, Enbridge referred to pipeline corrosion and future demand for oil, saying it would change the route of Line 3, a move that would allow it to restore its original capacity.

Opponents have attempted a number of legal challenges. A ruling is expected this month in a case, filed in Minnesota state court by tribes and environmental groups, that has focused on whether Enbridge performed an adequate environmental review.

Two other cases challenge the project’s permits, issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, under the Clean Air Act. Opponents argue that the Army Corps did not fully consider how an oil spill would affect the Lake Superior watershed.

Indigenous lawyers and lobbyists have also worked on their relationship with Washington. At the end of last month, Mrs. Houska, the tribal lawyer, insisted to senior officials at Biden what she saw as political hypocrisy: After canceling Keystone XL, how then could the administration allow line 3 to go ahead?

“This is a huge project with huge climate implications,” Houska told Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser, and David Hayes, who advises Biden on politics. land and water use. “You can’t cancel Keystone and then build a nearly identical oil sands pipeline,” she said.

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