The proposed Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program would replace the aging pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, USA. For the Canadian route, an Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment (EHHRA) was prepared for the National Energy Board (NEB) in Canada. In the United States, an Assessment of Accidental Releases (AAR) and the Supplemental Release Report were part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (DOC-EERA).
Computational oil spill modelling was used to assess the variability of predicted trajectory (movement), fate (behavior and weathering), and potential effects (impacts) associated with accidental releases of crude oil along the proposed pipeline. The downstream movement and timing of oil, as well as the expected surface oil thickness, water column contamination, shoreline and sediment oiling, and proportion evaporated to the atmosphere, were provided to assess the potential environmental effects.
Dr. Matthew Horn was involved in numerous stakeholder engagement meetings to identify an approach, select representative release locations, and provide technical results. He also provided evidence and expert testimony during the hearing process. Both assessments were successfully defended to their respective regulatory agency.
Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Program
Design and development:
The project aimed to identify potential effects from a release of oil from any point along the proposed pipeline replacement. Understanding that every oil spill is different, the challenge of this study was to quantitatively identify and bound the range of potential effects following a range of potential hydrocarbon releases. Work was conducted with multiple state and federal agencies, industry, and consulting firms to identify the criteria that would consider the range of biophysical and environmental conditions, as well as public and tribal concerns to include sensitive and representative locations. Two comprehensive assessments needed to be prepared for Federal and State/Provincial regulatory agencies in Canada and the US consisting of a large number of hypothetical release simulations.
Two comprehensive assessments were prepared for Federal and State/Provincial regulatory agencies in Canada and the US consisting of 64 hypothetical large volume releases of crude oil into terrestrial and freshwater environments. Scenarios captured a broad range of release locations, crude oil types, and environmental conditions across the proposed preferred and alternative pipeline routes. The predicted movement and behavior of released oil within the environment was assessed, taking into account the site-specific and season-specific geographic and environmental conditions that may influence the trajectory and fate of released crude oil. Both unmitigated and response mitigated release scenarios were modeled using the OILMAPLand and SIMAP models developed by RPS.