MPR reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration is a late entrant into the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline debate — recommending the state approve the Canadian company’s request. The letter, arriving at the 11th hour, could foreshadow Trump administration intervention on Line 3, similar to what it did on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Today was Day Two of four scheduled meetings for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to debate and vote on Enbridge Line 3. The process already appears to be taking longer than expected.
According to MPR:
PUC Chair Nancy Lange was still trying to determine how to handle the letter while also deciding whether a third day of questions and answers was needed. Lange said rather than add days to this week’s hearings, the PUC reserves the right to extend deliberations next week, with a decision coming as late as Friday, June 29.
Today’s discussion continued to focus on the future demand for oil and whether Line 3 is needed. According to MPR, Enbridge attorneys continued to argue that oil will be “extracted, moved and burned regardless of whether the new Line 3 is built.”
Comment: If that’s the case, let Enbridge build it somewhere else, or not at all.
In a related matter, Honor the Earth this week launched the “Welcome Water Protectors” Campaign. The project includes two new “Welcome Water Protectors” billboards in northern Minnesota near the proposed pipeline route; one billboard is in Park Rapids, the other near Backus.
According to Honor the Earth’s website:
“Each year, Minnesota posts signs welcoming fishermen and hunters to the North Country. This year, we want to especially recognize and welcome Water Protectors,” says Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth. Since much of the pipeline is proposed to cross county and state land, HTE [Honor the Earth] is welcoming Water Protectors to camp in accordance with all applicable laws. This includes a “leave no trace” policy while camping for up to two weeks on state or county land without a permit.
“If the system works, there will be no pipeline permit issued in Minnesota,” LaDuke adds. “In any case, all Water Protectors are welcome. When the state rejects Enbridge’s proposal, we will celebrate. If the state should go against all recommendations and issue a permit, we will be ready to camp and protect our water.”