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.
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.
Enbridge Line 3 could provide order’s first significant test
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan met with leaders of Minnesota’s Native nations Monday in Morton, Minn. and held a ceremonial signing of an Executive Order that recognizes and supports “the unique status of the Minnesota Tribal Nations and their right to existence, self-govern, and possess self-determination.”
The order officially went into effect on April 5. According to a media release from the Governor’s office issued at that time, “the order applies to all state agencies and was made in consultation with both agencies and tribal governments as it was written.”
“This order ensures the State of Minnesota and the eleven tribes engage in true government-to-government relationships built on respect, understanding, and sovereignty,” said Governor Walz. “We are committed to meaningful consultation with the tribal communities in our state.” (Emphasis in original.)
The Office of Legislative Auditor has set a public hearing to take comments on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) public engagement process. It will be Friday, May 31, 10 – 11 a.m. in the Minnesota State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Room 10.
The May 31 hearing won’t be the only opportunity for the public to comment. People can submit comments online through the Legislative Auditor’s website or by e-mailing team leader Laura Schwartz directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Legislative Auditor staff also will be conducting one-on-one interviews. Continue reading
A pro-Enbridge Line 3 pipeline group spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars since November on Facebook ads to sway Minnesotans’ perceptions of this unnecessary and risky project.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate today approved new felony crimes for those who trespass on pipeline property or damage pipeline equipment or property.
Laura Schwartz, program evaluation manager for the Legislative Audit Commission, will lead the team reviewing the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) public engagement process. That is one of five research topics the Audit Commission approved this year.
It will investigate three questions, according to the Commission’s one-page summary:
- What are the PUC’s rules for public participation?
- To what extent does the PUC enforce these rules appropriately and consistently?
- How do the PUC’s rules affect the extent to which the public can participate in the Commission’s decision-making process?
The Minnesota Legislative Audit Commission voted this morning to review the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) public engagement process, a process that came under heavy criticism during its recent handling of the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline case.
(For details, see: PUC Staff Oversteps Authority, Shows Bias Against Pipeline Resisters.)
Legislative Audit Commission Chair Rep. Rick Hansen said there was bipartisan support for the PUC review. “It is somewhat unique, because it’s both public participation but it’s also commerce, energy, environment all kind of wrapped together,” he said after the meeting. “It’s a good and timely topic.” Continue reading