Last week, I joined more than three dozen other legislators in urging DFL Governor Mark Dayton to tell the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission to move forward with the proposed Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project. The federal government ordered that the aging Enbridge pipeline be replaced during the Obama administration, and since then, the project has been subject to a significant public comment process.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce and Public Utilities Commission have consistently exceeded statutory and regulatory time frames for this project, which has caused unnecessary delays to this important project.
Also, keep in mind that the Dayton Administration and his agencies have already unnecessarily killed the Sandpiper pipeline in northern Minnesota, which would have been a $2 billion dollar investment in our state’s economy and removed hundreds of rail cars from transporting oil with inherent risk to our communities and environment. These pipelines provide safety in oil transport, and free up rail cars to be used for transporting farm commodities to market.
In Greater Minnesota, Enbridge has provided folks with good-paying jobs and a safe way to transport oil across the state without hurting our environment. Completing the Line 3 Replacement Project will provide tax revenue to rural communities.
Replacement of the Line 3 pipeline will mean more than $3 billion in private investment and create thousands of good-paying jobs along the route. Our Caucus has also raised concerns over the risk to the environment if the line is not replaced because of the current aging pipeline breaking or leaking.
This replacement project is essential not just because of the jobs it provides, but it also ensures the safe transportation of oil throughout the state.
With the Environmental Impact Statement now complete, the project has completed all the necessary procedural hurdles required by law, including the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). A final decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner should be expedited, not delayed, by the Dayton Administration. We need this investment in our state’s public safety and in our economy.