AITKIN – Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, issued the following statement regarding news that Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. agreed to purchase a $2 billion stake in the Bakken Pipeline system to ensure transportation of crude oil from North Dakota.
"Unwarranted delays and general bureaucratic bumbling by our state agencies and the public utilities commission in what should be a straight-forward and timely permitting process has now put at risk hundreds of good-paying jobs for Greater Minnesota," Lueck said. "Not only does this deny quality jobs to our hard working men and women in the skilled trades, but it likely may eliminate a large new stable property tax revenue source for our school districts, townships and counties here in rural Minnesota.”
Lueck said this appears to be Enbridge’s work-around to a serious of regulatory delays in Minnesota with permitting the Sandpiper and Line 3 Replacement projects. Those projects have been pushed back to 2019, assuming no further delays in the permitting process.
Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that Graham White, an Enbridge spokesman, announced Enbridge and Marathon are ending their transportation and joint venture agreements regarding Sandpiper. That likely means the proposed Sandpiper pipeline project is now "off the table."
“This development is a clear indication that we need to reform our permitting and environmental review processes to ensure projects like Sandpiper are dealt with in a fair and timely manner,” Lueck said. “Projects like Sandpiper shouldn't be delayed or canceled because of bureaucratic interference. It's unacceptable that a roughly $2 billion permanent infrastructure investment and a long-term, stable local property-tax base is now likely going somewhere else where skilled jobs and stable local property tax revenue for our schools and local governments are considered desirable."