Silence is not leadership

Reading the tea leaves, it seems Gov. Walz is a Line 3 backer

Gov. Tim Walz has bobbed, weaved, dithered, and ducked through his first term in office, avoiding taking a stand on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipelines. After the coronavirus, it’s one of the most consequential issues of his tenure.

The pipeline would generate $287 billion in climate damage. It would trench through 79 miles of wetlands. It would cut through state forests. Oil spills would jeopardize northern Minnesota’s clean waters, including wild rice beds. It would violate treaty rights. And by the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s own analysis, Enbridge failed to prove the pipeline is needed.

Yet Walz has given his tacit approval for the project, siding with a Canadian oil pipeline company, international oil shippers, and oil refineries. The project has slid through the state regulatory process with minimal opposition.

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Walz’s Covid contradictions: He tells local businesses to ‘pause’ while approving a foreign company’s construction project

Governor has yet to explain himself

In the wake of increasing coronavirus cases, Gov. Tim Walz last month issued what he called a “pause” on “social activities, in-person dining, sports, and fitness establishments for four weeks.”

This week, Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency expedited the approval for Enbridge Line 3, issuing its final permit even though they had three more weeks to decide. This means an influx of two thousand workers — or more — from outside the area, heightening risks of pandemic spread.

During the past two days, Healing Minnesota Stories has called and emailed Walz’s media office and that of Jan Malcolm, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, seeking comment on how they viewed the health risks from Line 3 construction crews. Neither has responded.

Minnesota citizens deserve answers from their leaders.

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Three ways to support Line 3 resistance, and a critique of Gov. Walz

In this blog:

  • Contact Attorney General Keith Ellison and the MN Department of Commerce, tell them to seek an injunction on Line 3
  • Contact Gov. Walz and tell him to get his pandemic priorities straight, stop Line 3’s influx of out-of-state workers
  • Frontline Line 3 resistance continues; needs bail funds
  • Walz ‘refused to listen to the science,’ Sierra Club says
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The Walz administration is hypocritical in approving Enbridge Line 3

More than half of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA’s) Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned today over the agency’s decision to approve a key permit for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan is distancing herself from Gov. Tim Walz’s support for the project.

The state’s decision to approve Line 3 has polluted the legacy of both Gov. Walz and the MPCA, and shines a spotlight on their hypocrisy.

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Governor envy

Michigan’s Whitmer nixes crude oil pipeline under the Great Lakes while Minnesota’s Walz administration greenlights crude oil pipeline that threatens state lakes and streams

It’s a tale of two states, Michigan and Minnesota.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that the state was revoking and terminating Enbridge’s easement to operate crude oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

They cited Enbridge’s bad-faith efforts to protect the environment and Enbridge Line 5’s threat to the Great Lakes.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota DNR announced this week they would allow Enbridge to build a crude oil pipeline trenching through 355 miles of northern Minnesota, threatening climate, clean waters and treaty rights.

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Minnesota’s environmental watchdog approves environmentally damaging project

No bark. No bite. MPCA rolls over, approves Enbridge Line 3 permit.

Agency uses PR spin to justify its flawed decision.

As expected, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today approved a water crossing permit for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

Enbridge is expected to begin construction sometime this month.

Gov. Tim Walz and MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop talk a good game about addressing climate change and environmental justice. This Line 3 decision makes clear they don’t live up to their promises.

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Construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline could start next week — Call Gov. Walz!

Construction on the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline could start as early as next week. It’s a project that threatens clean water, climate, and treaty rights. It makes no sense given the oil market is floundering and the project unneeded.

Our political leaders and regulatory institutions have failed us.

It’s time once again to put pressure on Gov. Tim Walz.

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MPCA offers PR spin about what ‘meaningful’ tribal consultation means in Line 3 review

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA’s) commitment to environmental and racial justice is being tested and it’s not doing that great. It gets an incomplete at best.

At issue is the MPCA’s environmental review of Enbridge’s plans to build a tar sands crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. To proceed, Enbridge needs the MPCA to approve a water crossing (Section 401) certificate. The proposed Line 3 crosses a lot of water — more than 200 streams and other water bodies and 79 miles of wetlands.

Native Nations have offered strong opposition to Line 3 for violating treaty rights and its threats to clean water and wild rice. Both the pipeline’s construction and future spills would endanger northern Minnesota’s environment.

So what were the MPCA’s goals for engaging Tribal communities in this important decision, and how well did it meet them?

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Walz says he prioritizes safety of most vulnerable communities during pandemic, but would he intervene to stop Line 3?

Gov. Tim Walz

Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan issued a “Coronavirus Response and Preparation” update Friday that said: “As COVID-19 has exacerbated racial, economic, and educational inequities, the Walz-Flanagan Administration has prioritized the safety of our most vulnerable workers, families, and communities.”

Al Monaco, president and CEO of Enbridge, has said he believes construction on Line 3 could start this summer. Yet the pandemic isn’t going to be over by the summer. An influx of workers risks bringing more coronavirus cases to northern Minnesota. Line 3 runs near the White Earth and Red Lake reservations and through the Fond du Lac Reservation. Those communities have more than their share of health problems and their members would be more vulnerable to the virus.

In the worst-case scenario where Enbridge gets all the state permits it needs, the Walz administration needs to intervene to stop construction. With the current oil glut, there’s no public urgency for Line 3 construction to move forward.

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PUC reissues orders approving Line 3, Commissioner Schuerger dissents, lawsuits now back in play

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) released orders today reapproving Enbridge Line 3’s Route Permit and Certificate of Need. This now opens the door for legal challenges to the tar sands crude oil pipeline, including suits from Native Nations who say the project threatens their treaty rights, their sacred wild rice, and their clean waters.

The PUC’s actions today again put pressure on Gov. Tim Walz to decide where he stands on the Line 3 project, and whether he will reaffirm a lawsuit against the project by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Continue reading