It’s only the first day of December and we received some important news on two fronts already this month. Yesterday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the final permit necessary for Enbridge to begin construction of a new pipeline that will replace Enbridge’s current Line 3.
This action concludes six years of extensive environmental review. The focus must turn to ensuring the safety of the men and women that will construct the replacement pipeline and our public safety professionals that will ensure the laws concerning, trespass, property damage, and terrorist threats are fully enforced.
The new replacement pipeline will include approximately five miles of pipeline in the very northwestern corner of Crow Wing County, 46 miles of pipeline across Cass County and 34 miles in Aitkin County, as well as construction of a pump station in Macville Township just south of Hill City.
The project will generate millions of dollars of new annual property tax revenue for our counties, townships and school districts across Minnesota and put many Minnesotan’s to work in good high paying jobs. It will also increase protection of the environment by allowing the retirement of an aging, 60-year-old pipeline that is operating at about half its original design capacity. Anytime we can move oil by pipeline rather than crude oil unit trains it’s a big plus for public safety.
We also received the November state budget forecast today. It shows an improved outlook from previous projections. Minnesota Management & Budget now predicts a $641 million state revenue surplus for the period ending June 30, 2021. That reverses the previously projected $2.4 billion shortfall. The forecast also predicts a $1.3 billion shortfall for the 2022-23 biennium. That is a significant improvement over the larger budget deficit MMB projected in recent months.
It’s a pleasant surprise that the previous forecast was overly conservative. State spending slowed and revenues remained better than expected. That said, since these numbers are macro in nature, we will see more detail later this week. I am approaching this forecast with some caution, as there remains some uncertainty as to exactly when the pandemic will be in the rear-view mirror.
Check out the MMB website for more details. The full MMB report will be posted Thursday.