Insider: June 30, 2018

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Environmental Insider is brought to you by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership

PUC approves Line 3 certificate of need and Enbridge’s preferred route through pristine waters

On Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to grant a certificate of need to the proposed Enbridge Line 3 replacement oil pipeline, which would deliver Canadian tar sands oil across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin. The Commission also chose, on a 3-2 vote, to grant Enbridge its preferred pipeline route, which would bypass tribal reservations but travel through Ojibwe treaty land and some of Minnesota’s most pristine and vulnerable waters.

Despite the objections of tribal representatives and environmental attorneys, the commissioners argued that approving the new pipeline would be the environmentally responsible option. They cited Enbridge’s statements that it would continue to operate the existing Line 3 if the replacement were not constructed and argued that the Commission cannot compel the company to cease its operation. However, opponents have pointed out that other state agencies like the Department of Natural Resources and the Pollution Control Agency have the authority and justification to act regarding the existing pipeline.

MEP has previously detailed why Minnesota has no need, economically or otherwise, for this pipeline.The Commission decided that the benefits of Line 3 outweighed the hazards, despite the pipeline’s massive projected carbon emissions, its danger to hundreds of waters along the new route, and its violation of the cultural rights of the Minnesota Ojibwe tribes, four out of five of which oppose the pipeline entirely.

However, as Governor Mark Dayton pointed out in a statement, this pipeline is not yet a done deal. Enbridge must secure various permits in order to begin construction, and organizations like Honor the Earth and the Sierra Club are already beginning to appeal the PUC’s decision. Organizations and citizens around the state have vowed to continue to oppose this pipeline every step of the way.

We thank all the organizations, advocates, and climate intervenors from around the state who have spoken out and continue to raise their voices on the dangers of Line 3. Now is the time to double down on Minnesota’s commitment to moving to a clean, safe, renewable energy economy. Further reading:

Honor the Earth and Sierra Club North Star Chapter Joint Statement
MN350 Statement
Environmental Law and Policy Center Statement

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative needs your input!

The U.S. EPA is in the process of crafting a plan for how it will prioritize federal Great Lakes restoration and protection investments. Restoration projects in Minnesota and other Great Lakes states are helping to restore fish and wildlife habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce polluted runoff, and fight invasive species.

On July 12, the EPA will be taking public input in Duluth on how to shape its Great Lakes restoration efforts from 2020-2024. We invite anyone who cares about the health of our Great Lakes to participate! Visit the event page or contact Andrew Slade at for details.

40 Under 40

Nominations open for Midwest Energy News’ 40 Under 40 Awards

Each year, Midwest Energy News recognizes Midwest-based leaders and innovators from all sectors— industry, government, regulatory, business, academia, nonprofit, and advocacy. Those selected are invited to the Honorees Reception in Chicago to celebrate and network with the prestigious advisory committee and past award recipients.

Midwest Energy News is now seeking nominations! Honorees are both self-nominated and nominated by peers. Visit the 40 under 40 web page to nominate a leader you believe is worthy of recognition.

Lawsuits on mining leases near BWCA resist governance by memo and whim

(From MinnPost) — Two more lawsuits were filed this week against the Trump administration’s about-face on Twin Metals Minnesota’s mineral leases at the edge of the Boundary Waters, bringing the total to three.The documents bring some clarity and concision to the tangled procedural history of the leases’ renewals, cancellation and re-granting. And on mining’s threat to area businesses centered on paddling and quiet recreation, they present some compelling illustrations of potential job losses. But perhaps their main value will be the focus they bring to this question: Has ours become a government of whim, or do the law, the rules and settled procedures still matter? >>Read More.


Local View: Minnesota’s outdoors need Land and Water Conservation Fund

(From Duluth News Tribune) —  As those of us who call Minnesota home know, we have all benefited greatly from our state’s breathtaking and wild public lands. Whether you enjoy recreating on our public lands or run a business guiding visitors on trips of lifetimes, we’ve all enjoyed access to pristine lands — access that in many areas is possible because of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, has funded conservation and recreation projects over the past 50-plus years. The concept is simple: Invest a portion of offshore drilling royalties toward protecting land, water, and recreation assets around the country. >>Read More.

Help sustain MEP’s work. Donate today!

Do you appreciate our coverage of environmental and conservation issues? You can help sustain MEP’s work with a donation. Your support will help MEP continue educating decision-makers and Minnesotans throughout the state about important issues that impact clean water, clean air, and land conservation. Contributions also provide the financial backing we need to help organize the advocacy efforts of our 70 member organizations and take action through public organizing, media campaigns, lobbying, and research.

Office space available in MEP’s building!

Is your organization in the market for a convenient, comfortable office space in St. Paul? The office suite above MEP’s office at 546 Rice Street is available for lease! The approximately 2200 square ft. space is ideal for a small to midsize nonprofit organization, featuring a kitchen and break area and offstreet parking.

Located in the Capitol-Rice Street neighborhood, it is also within three blocks of the Capitol complex and across the street from the Women’s Building. It is also positioned along bus routes 3, 62, and 67, and a two-minute walk from the Green Line. And perhaps best of all, the new tenant would have good neighbors in MEP’s staff!

The landlord may be open to letting portions or the entirety of the office space to individual organizations. Contact us for details!

Please contact Matt Doll at if interested.

Weekly Environmental Trivia – Answers Below Job Postings!  

1. Which lake (which is not among the Great Lakes) is the fourth-largest in North America?

2. How many states have waters that drain into the Mississippi River watershed?

3. Which is the only Midwestern state that does not have waters that drain to the Mississippi?

Upcoming Environmental Events

LSP Potluck Cookout, July 6
Land Stewardship Project Office, Minneapolis

Cover Crops in Western MN workshop, July 10
Howard Stegemen Farm, Benson
Hosted by Land Stewardship Project

Slow Roll St. Paul – Frogtown, July 11
Pilgrim Garden and Frogtown, St. Paul
Hosted by Move MN and Cycles for Change

Pollinator Festival, July 28
Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, St. Paul
Hosted by Lower Phalen Creek Project

Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities

Energy Efficiency Specialist | MN Chamber of Commerce – Waste Wise and Energy Smart Program
Policy Associate – Energy Access & Equity | Fresh Energy
Conservation Program Manager | Minnesota Land Trust
Education Program Supervisor | Minnesota Trout Unlimited
Senior Policy Associate, Electrification | Fresh Energy
Organizing Representative – Duluth | Sierra Club North Star Chapter
Minnesota GreenCorps AmeriCorps Member | Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Data Manager | Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
Program Intern – Summer 2018 | Clean Water Action
Chief Financial Officer | Environmental Initiative
See all job postings

Trivia Answers: 1) Great Bear Lake. 2) 31, plus two Canadian provinces. 3) Michigan.


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Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Copyright © 2017
546 Rice Street, Suite 100, Saint Paul, MN 55103

The Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) is a coalition of more than 70 environmental and conservation organizations working together for clean water, clean energy, and protection of our Great Outdoors.

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