In addition to my email update on Tuesday, we saw several additional developments this week.
Monday the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the final permit necessary for Enbridge to construct the replacement pipeline for Enbridge’s current Line 3. On Friday the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) held a special hearing to consider a request by the Red Lake and White Earth Bands to stay the Commission’s Project Final Orders. That document is part of the necessary permissions for work to begin.
On Wednesday I submitted a formal letter urging the request be denied. There has been more than a fair opportunity for all to be heard, it is time to recognize this is a settled matter. I observed the hearing via webcast, listening to arguments from both sides.
I was pleased to see the PUC on a 4 to1vote, denied the request for a stay, thus work can continue on this important project.
Additionally, on Friday, I along with several other state legislators participated in a conference call with 8th District Congressman Pete Stauber. He is currently in Washington DC working on an additional federal relief package for small businesses and the many employees that have again been laid off due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Congressman Stauber had just completed speaking on the House floor. He voiced significant frustration with Speaker Pelosi’s focus this week on two pieces of legislation she put before the US House of Representatives. One would outlaw the private ownership of tigers and the other would eliminate federal restrictions on the use of marijuana.
There was agreement among state legislators that any federal aid should be carefully targeted and provided in a manner that immediately gets the aid down to the local level. Otherwise, there is a risk of it being pigeonholed within the Saint Paul bureaucracy.
Congressman Stauber responded that he and many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle are working hard to do just that. He indicated that while frustrated, he would not let the question of private ownership of tigers gum up his effort to get real work done in Washington DC.
Lastly, while many of us enjoy ice fishing, please be safe carefully check the ice if you venture out.