I testified before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission during a public hearing regarding the Line 3 replacement project today at the Minnesota Senate Office Building in St. Paul.
It was the first of three sessions the commission has scheduled over the course of five days to receive comments before deciding whether the second revised Final Environmental Impact Statement is adequate, what action the commission should take on the application for a certificate of need for the project, and what action the commission should take on the application for a pipeline routing permit for the project.
This is a critical project. We’ve been working on this for four years and it’s absolutely time to replace that old line, for several reasons. We need to make sure we do our best to protect the environment and we do that by replacing a 60-year-old line to ensure in future years we’ve got great protection for the environment.
The regulatory process here in Minnesota is extremely complex. This project has been studied incessantly now for four years, over 13,000 pages in an environmental impact study. It’s more than adequate.
The need is there; we’re going to be on fossil fuel for many decades, so we must make sure we have the best infrastructure out there. We have many workers, trades people that have been waiting to go to work on this line.
There will be a huge amount of economic benefit up in our area. It’s going to provide new tax revenue for our school districts, our counties, our small towns and our townships – and generate high-paying jobs. It’s critical this project move forward and get this thing going.
On another subject, you may have seen a statement I issued following news that an agreement has been reached setting the 2020 Mille Lacs Lake safe harvest level for walleye at 150,000 pounds – the same as last year.
As I said in my statement, I’m very disappointed in the harvest level, which remains unchanged from 2019. We’ve had excellent fishing through the winter. The next step in the process is to work on summer regulations for walleye fishing with the hope the DNR will seriously consider public input from residents and business owners around the lake. Mille Lacs continues to be an excellent fishing lake for many species of fish and a great place for recreation.