Busy week; it was hard to squeeze in much deer hunting.
Tuesday, Sen. Ruud and I meet with the Aitkin County Commissioners to discuss their legislative priorities for 2021. Wednesday found me at Crosslake meeting with a group that is involved in taking care of the Veteran’s Memorial Walking Trail.
It was recently discovered the trail is located on Permanent State School Trust Land, not DNR land. That will require some work by the DNR and the community to clear up some administrative issues that presents. What is important is that we ensure the walking trail is preserved.
As Wednesday was Veterans Day, it was fitting that we were working on preserving a veterans’ memorial trail that was created and dedicated to all WW II veterans and specifically to veterans Dorwin Badger and William Dresden.
Thursday, I participated remotely via ZOOM in a sixth special legislative session of the current interim. The governor called us back for a several-hour special session, an act which gave him another 30 day renewal of his emergency powers authority.
This week the MPCA and the DNR made news by issuing numerous crucial permits and licenses that moved the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project closer to starting construction.
In our area, the project includes five miles of the new pipeline in Crow Wing County, 34 miles of new pipeline in Aitkin County, and construction of a pump station in Macville Township just southeast of Hill City.
The MPCA issued a 401 water quality certification, approved the capped air emissions and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wastewater permit necessary for the project. The DNR issued permits for work in public waters, wetlands, water appropriations for dust suppression, trench dewatering, hydrostatic testing, directional drilling, and threatened and endangered species. Utility public land and water crossing licenses were also issued.
That is welcome news. It brings this long-awaited project ever closer to becoming reality. The replacement of this old pipeline is long overdue. The project will inject billions of dollars of private investment into northern Minnesota’s economy and when completed will generate millions of dollars annually in new property tax revenue for counties, townships and school districts across our part of Minnesota.
The final step before construction can start is gaining a construction stormwater permit, which involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issuing a Section 404 permit. The MPCA has that application under review.