A quick note on a news release I issued yesterday to our local newspapers regarding Tuesday’s vote by the Public Utilities Commission denying the Walz administration’s petition to reconsider replacement of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. This is the third vote the PUC has taken dealing with the certificate of need for the project which the commission approved last summer to replace Line 3.
This week, by a unanimous vote, the PUC rejected Gov. Walz’s continued effort to derail this project. That is good news for the environment and public safety. Line 3 is old and long overdue for replacement. It’s unfortunate that every day the governor wastes trying to derail this project he continues to put the environment and public safety at unnecessary risk.
One has to wonder whether the governor and his newly appointed Commissioner of Commerce really believe that crude oil unit trains running through our small towns in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties every couple of hours would be in the best interest of public safety.
The rejection of the Department of Commerce’s petition to reconsider the PUC’s authorization of replacement of the pipeline is another defeat for the Walz’s Administration’s continuing attempt to stymie this important project. However, it remains a disappointment that the governor still is allowing the Department of Commerce to waste Minnesota taxpayer dollars appealing a court decision made last year that dismissed a lawsuit challenging the PUC decision to replace Line 3.
On a more positive note, fellow legislators and I representing districts impacted by the Line 3 replacement project continue to closely monitor the activity of the DNR and MPCA and the ongoing permitting process. We have been assured that both agencies will continue to follow the law and honor the PUC’s decision authorizing replacement of the pipeline and will proceed without delay to issue the necessary state level permits so construction operations may begin.
The sooner we get this project underway, the better for our environment and public safety.