SAINT PAUL, MN—Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) called on Governor Dayton at a press conference Thursday to explain his role in blocking progress on the Sandpiper Pipeline and urged him to keep the project on track. Last year, the Dayton administration pushed for unprecedented delays in the permitting process for projects like Sandpiper.
As called for in state law, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) considers the certificate of need and the proposed route (and its environmental impacts) concurrently. After pressure from the Dayton administration, specifically the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and activist organizations the process was split in two with the certificate of need completed prior to completion of the environmental review. Deviation from the traditional process opened the project up to a lawsuit by the same activist groups who advocated for the change, culminating in the reversal of the certificate of need decision earlier this week.
"If Governor Dayton wants to oppose the Sandpiper Pipeline, he should be open and honest about it," Daudt said. "His administration pushed for the apparently illegal process at the request of activist groups, according to the Court of Appeals, that has resulted in further delays of the Sandpiper project.
"Approval for this project will bring 1500 jobs and $25 million in property tax revenue in a part of the state that desperately needs it. It will dramatically improve rail congestion across Minnesota by taking up to 525 oil tankers off our railroads each day. It's pretty easy for Democrats in Minneapolis and Saint Paul—where the unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent—to oppose these projects to appease the powerful special interest groups that fund their campaigns. But projects like Sandpiper mean good-paying jobs for families in parts of the state where the unemployment rate is twice as high as it is in the Twin Cities.
"Governor Dayton owes these communities an explanation as to why his administration is hindering job growth where it is needed most and the governor should commit to getting this project done."