Minnesota needs state leaders to get off the fence and show courage and leadership to stop Line 3

Minnesota’s top political leaders — Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and U.S. senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith — have failed to take a stand and show leadership opposing the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline, a dangerous and unnecessary project.

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Further Court Delays, Uncertainty Ahead for Enbridge Line 3

Why are farm/agricusiness groups supporting the pipeline?

The proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline that would cross 340 miles of northern Minnesota and violate treaty rights is now tied up in legal knots, creating greater uncertainty and delays in the process.

A number of business interests are pressuring the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to expedite a fix to problems identified by litigation. Most bizarre, farm/agribusiness groups are supporting Line 3 in spite of the pipeline’s long-term negative affects on agriculture.

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MN Court of Appeals Gives Enbridge Line 3 Opponents Partial Win

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that the state’s environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline is inadequate “because it does not address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed.” It ordered the issue back before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for further evaluation.

It’s only a partial win.

The Court of Appeals rejected other key arguments made by Line 3 opponents. Opponents argued the environmental impact statement had failed to adequately analyze route alternatives to Enbridge’s preferred route. They also argued the PUC shouldn’t have approved Line 3’s environmental impact statement before the “traditional cultural properties survey” was complete. (Such a survey makes sure projects such as Line 3 take into account potential damage to places of historic and cultural significance.) The court rejected both arguments.

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Honor the Earth Files First Legal Challenge to PUC Approval of Enbridge Line 3

Honor the Earth is suing to stop Enbridge Line 3 in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, saying the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the project based on a faulty and inadequate environmental impact statement (EIS).

Honor the Earth filed the legal challenge earlier this month, the first of what could be several lawsuits by various parties seeking to stop the pipeline. Honor the Earth’s lawsuit says the PUC’s decision “was contrary to law, not supported by the evidence, and arbitrary and capricious.” Continue reading

Recent Court Wins Over Extractive Industries

Passing along a couple of recent court victories against fossil fuel industries, their pipelines and frac sand.

MPR reported Monday that a divided Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Winona County’s ban on frac sand mining. According to the story, “Winona County has some of the largest deposits of silica sand, which is used in the controversial technique to force oil out of the ground. … An estimated 100 tons of silica sand are needed each year to support oil drilling.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline is one example of a project that needs frac sand. Winona was the first Minnesota County to pass a countywide ban on frac sand mining.

In other news, a federal judge in Virginia revoked a natural gas pipeline permit saying the federal government had not provided adequate review of its impact on national forests, according to a July 27 story in the Washington Post. The story begins:

A panel of federal judges on Friday rescinded permits for a massive natural gas pipeline to cross the Jefferson National Forest, saying two U.S. agencies had not fully vetted the project and had simply accepted assurances from the builders.

Environmentalists called the decision a major blow against the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is being built from West Virginia though the rugged terrain of far Southwest Virginia. It will pass through 3.6 miles of the Jefferson National Forest along the West Virginia line in Giles County, tunneling under the Appalachian Trail.

Click on the links above for the full stories.

See also our earlier blog: Oglala Sioux Win Court Victory Stopping Uranium Mine and Other Weekend Reads.