Breaking news from the Star Tribune: Minnesota Commerce Department asks utility regulators to vacate Enbridge’s approval for Line 3. It starts out:
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has asked state utility regulators to vacate their decision to grant Enbridge a permit for a controversial oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
The Commerce Department, in a regulatory filing Tuesday, claims the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) ruling is “affected by legal error and is unsupported by the evidence.”
Commerce has taken strong stands against Line 3, but Gov. Mark Dayton has remained publicly neutral. (Environmental and Native American groups have been pressing Dayton to take a position against the pipeline ever since the PUC’s June vote approving it.)
Commerce is asking the PUC to reconsider its vote approving Line 3. This is an important procedural move. If the PUC denies the request, then Commerce and other parties can sue in court to stop the pipeline. There are ample arguments against the pipeline: it threatens Minnesota’s cleanest waters and wild rice areas, it harms treaty rights, it’s not needed, and it would add hundreds of billions of dollars in climate change costs worldwide.
Commerce’s procedural filing adds strength to the Native American and advocacy groups working to stop Line 3. It would be more impactful if in the coming months Commerce also joins the legal challenges against the pipeline.
The Department of Commerce’s filing is not yet available on-line. It should be posted by later today.