MPCA to make Line 3 decision, with climate and state’s waters on the line

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Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership

Next week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is expected to decide whether to approve critical water permits for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement oil pipeline. These permits are among the last items required for the pipeline’s construction, and they offer a critical opportunity for Minnesota’s government to live up to its responsibility and protect its people from Line 3.

Scientifically, this is not a difficult decision. Building and running Line 3 would be a climate disaster, with greenhouse emissions from the oil being consumed and the pipeline operation exceeding the climate impact of Minnesota’s entire economy each year. Its construction would jeopardize critical wetlands and natural resources and trample on the rights of indigenous people in Minnesota. It would put miles of new water resources in danger of a catastrophic oil spill.

The economic case against the pipeline is also strong, with oil demand declining as transportation and other sectors get cleaner. The Department of Commerce found that Enbridge has not demonstrated that our state has a need for the pipeline’s oil, and has filed and refiled appeals of the pipeline’s Certificate of Need.

Much will come down to the MPCA’s interpretation of its authority under state law – whether its leaders believe that they can deny Line 3’s permits. The answer to that question is an emphatic “yes,” as MEP and our partners told Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan this week. If the MPCA blocks Line 3, it will have solid ground to do so, and if it is challenged in court, it can win.

However, even with all the scientific, economic, and legal justification to block this pipeline, we simply don’t know if the Walz Administration and the MPCA will put Minnesotans first without summoning the voice of the public. We need Minnesotans to speak up now, and implore Governor Walz and MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop to reject this pipeline – not to require safety concessions, not to negotiate over its construction impact, but to deny it with prejudice.

You can reach Governor Walz at 651-201-3400 and the MPCA at 651-296-6300.

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