Enbridge is Pulling a Bait-and-Switch — Will the PUC Finally Take a Stand?

Enbridge — the Canadian company that wants to run a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota’s pristine waters and wild rice areas — is getting away with the old bait-and-switch move.

Late last spring, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline proposal looked like it was in trouble. The company made a last-minute pr move, promising to contribute $100 million to a “Tribal Economic Opportunity and Labor Education Plan” if the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the project.

And with no details, the PUC bought it hook, line, and sinker.

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Questions and Criticisms Abound in Enbridge Line 3’s ‘Tribal Economic Opportunity’ Plan

Enbridge’s promised $100 million in “tribal economic opportunity” as a part of its Line 3 crude oil pipeline project is still under review, well after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved the project.

Enbridge’s jobs proposal had some PR appeal. The reasoning goes that since the Anishinaabe of northern Minnesota are bearing a disproportionate share of the project’s risks — oil spills, threats to wild rice, and the risk of increased assaults on women during pipeline construction — surely they should get something back.

But there is no guaranteed benefit for the Anishinaabe. Further, the PUC’s order has no enforcement mechanism or prescribed penalty if Enbridge fails to live up to its word.

Enbridge offered a vague and flawed jobs proposal. If history is prelude, the PUC will rubber stamp it.

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