ST. PAUL – State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, is urging public action in the wake of a state agency testifying against the proposed upgrade of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline.
Green also roundly criticized Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration after the Minnesota Department of Commerce on Monday indicated to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that Enbridge’s certificate of need application for replacing Line 3 “has not established a need for the proposed project in Minnesota.”
The aging pipeline was ordered replaced by the federal government during the Obama era and has been subject to unprecedented public review and comment.
“The governor’s administration has once again catered to the environmental extremists at the expense of the people in our region,” Green said. “They are jeopardizing our safety, standing in the way of thousands of good construction jobs and potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. It is absurd a state agency is trying to kill a private investment of more than $3 billion in Minnesota that would do more to protect our water and, at the same time, provide economic benefits to the people of our region and beyond that could really use a lift.”
The PUC is expected to make a final ruling next year on whether to issue a certificate of need to Enbridge as required to begin work replacing 337 miles of decaying pipeline across northern Minnesota.
“Dayton and other Democrats in St. Paul have a terrible habit of throwing sand in the gears of important projects and this is just the latest instance,” Green said. “The stall tactics that have been resorted to with the Line 3 proposal are prime examples of why people become jaded toward government. People look at bureaucrats from the Cities as being completely out of touch with Greater Minnesota and it’s pretty easy to see why.”
Minnesotans will be able to weigh in on the Line 3 proposal during a public comment period this fall. Numerous public hearings are planned, starting Sept. 26 in Thief River Falls. The public will be able to submit comments, present evidence and ask questions. Dates and locations are available by visiting www.mn.gov/puc/line3 and clicking “public comment period” link near the top of the page. The website also allows for comments to be submitted online.
“My hope is people will pack the meetings and provide comments on the internet, but I also encourage them to flood the governor, legislators and state agencies with so much common sense they have no choice but to finally acknowledge us and get out of the way so we can start work on this pipeline,” Green said. “The replacement of Line 3 is too important to us – and for the health of our environment – to allow a small few to rule.”