Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved permits to replace Enbridge’s aging Line 3 Pipeline in November, but departing Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) is now appealing the decision.
The Public Utilities Commission’s November vote to approve the replacement project was protested and disrupted by environmentalist activists who have opposed the project every step of the way. In one instance, they shut down a performance at Minneapolis’ Theater of Public Policy in protest.
Activists say Line 3, which crosses through northern Minnesota, could present the risk of an oil spill in the Mississippi River, and will contribute to climate change by producing carbon dioxide, according to The Associated Press.
On Friday, Dayton’s Department of Commerce filed an appeal against a certificate of need and a pipeline routing permit granted to Enbridge.
“Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law,” Dayton said in a press release. “Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions. It failed to demonstrate that Minnesota needs this pipeline to meet our future oil demand. In fact, most of the product would flow through our state to supply other states and countries.”
Dayton said he is “hopeful” that the Court of Appeals will agree with his administration and “uphold the clear language of Minnesota’s law.”
“[State law] intends to ensure that a project with this magnitude of environmental impact upon our state serves the needs of our citizens, rather than the financial interests of foreign corporations and countries,” he added.
Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said “enough is enough” after learning of Dayton’s appeal.
“The Line 3 pipeline project has cleared every environmental and regulatory hurdle and needs to move forward without any more delays,” he continued. “It’s disappointing the Dayton administration is using the courts to once again block the construction of a newer, safer pipeline that will bring good-paying jobs to northern Minnesota.”
Enbridge called Dayton’s decision “very disappointing and erroneous,” saying the company “presented multiple detailed future forecasts all of which showed demand for the restored capacity of a replaced Line 3 is needed for years to come.”
“The replacement of Line 3 is the most studied pipeline project in the history of Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce’s appeal flies in the face of the thorough review spanning four years, thousands of hours of environmental and cultural study, and substantial public comments, all conducted under the Dayton administration,” Enbridge said Friday. “Line 3 replacement is needed in order to meet Minnesota’s energy needs. Replacing an again pipeline with new, modern construction, is the safest and best option for protecting the environment and communities.”
Environmental groups in Minnesota celebrated Dayton’s announcement on Twitter Friday, thanking him for “standing up for Minnesotans.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Mark Dayton” by Laurie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.