In Minnesota, more than 75 environmental and public interest non-profits have banded together to form the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. This organization strengthens member effectiveness and builds collective power to secure a healthy environment for all Minnesotans. MEP achieves this mission by providing forums for collaboration and offering capacity building services that make our member groups, and our coalition, stronger. They create and organize various services, including communications and capacity building trainings, meetings for our members with policy makers, news and information gathering, networking opportunities, and more. League of Women Voters Minnesota is a member of MEP; LWV UMRR participates in MEP activities through this link.
This blog post and the post "PolyMet Copper-nickel Mine Permit Appeals" are from a March 28 MEP "Environmental Insider" email by Matt Doll, and are reproduced here with his permission. Line 3, an Enbridge pipeline that runs through northern Minnesota is in need of upgrade and repair. The company proposes a re-route and capacity increase, many environmental groups want it shut down all together. This post includes information on how to comment.
Line 3 comment period extended, moved to conference calls
Online comments open through April 10
By Matt Doll, Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Earlier this week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced that in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it would extend the online comment period on its permits for the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline by one week and shift from holding in-person hearings to telephone town halls. These 90-minute calls, taking place on April 2nd, 7th, and 9th, will allow Minnesotans to make comments of up to two minutes in length. Online comments can be submitted through April 10.
Given that construction of the proposed Line 3 would be a climate nightmare, it is critical that citizens step forward now and in large numbers to oppose these permits.
The permits in question cover water protection, wastewater use, and air pollution. Enbridge has already re-secured its required Certificate of Need and route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), leaving the MPCA permits and permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers as one of the last remaining checks on the pipeline.
MPCA extension of the comment period and the shift to phone participation will allow greater participation than the alternative of no public hearings. Minnesotans deserve adequate time to register concerns about this project.
The previous hearing schedule included no hearings in the Twin Cities. While local land and pollution concerns in the northern Minnesota communities the pipeline would cross deserve full attention, the entire state should have ample opportunity to comment on Line 3’s impacts.
These impacts would be severe, and go far beyond the considerable danger of a spill in northern waters. Line 3 is a climate disaster and has been demonstrated by the State Department of Commerce to be an unnecessary project. MEP strenuously disagreed with the PUC’s finding that the new pipeline was needed by Minnesotans, and we applauded Commissioner Matt Schuerger for being the one dissenting voice in the PUC’s decision.
The oil carried by Line 3 and the energy used in its operation would have a yearly climate impact greater than the entire economy of Minnesota combined. At a time when the need to rapidly transition to a green economy is greater than ever, we can’t afford to build new fossil fuel infrastructure such as Line 3.
Minnesota’s state agencies should consider the catastrophic climate impact in their decision on whether to approve this pipeline, but even if the MPCA limits itself to considering local air and water quality in its decision, it should still have ample reason to deny the pipeline. Climate change is the greatest threat to air and water quality, and construction of Line 3 and the threat of a tar sands oil spill would severely endanger the vulnerable resources and ecosystems of northern Minnesota.
We ask that all concerned Minnesotans comment on these permits via phone or web submission. If you need ideas for what to say, MEP partners have provided talking points to use. This is no time to stay silent on the real and lasting dangers posed by the Line 3 pipeline.
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