A bill introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives would bypass the oversight of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and green light the unneeded Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline.
The bill, HF3759, is authored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R) Roseau, and will get its first hearing on Tuesday, March 27, 3 p.m. at the House Jobs and Energy Committee, Room 10 of the State Office Building.
The current Enbridge Line 3 is old and failing. Enbridge proposes to abandon it in the ground and build a new and larger pipeline along a new route, 337 miles across northern Minnesota. It would cross the Mississippi headwaters and near or through many wild rice lakes and rivers.
A similar bill was pushed last year but never made it into law. Still, there is a good chance this one could make it through the legislature. An Administrative Law Judge is expected to make a recommendation on Line 3 by mid-April. The PUC is set to take a final vote on Line 3 by late May or early June. One hopeful sign is that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has submitted testimony that this line is not needed.
Gov. Dayton has not taken a position on Line 3. He has no official role in approving the pipeline, but does have the bully pulpit.
If this bill passes and end runs the PUC process, it would make a mockery of the years of effort by indigenous and environment groups to stop this pipeline. Please attend the hearing if you can.
Also on the legislative docket this week is HF 3693, a bill that would make organizations criminally liable if they aid or support people who trespass on pipeline property. We wrote about this bill in an earlier blog.
A hearing of HF 3693 is set for Wednesday, March 30, at 10:15 a.m. before the House Public Safety Committee, Room 10, State Office Building.