20 Minnesotans File To Intervene In Oil Pipeline Case
20 Minnesotans, including tribal members, announced that they are filing legal intervention paperwork with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Those looking to become parties in the proceedings are opposed to the the Line 3 replacement project by Enbridge, according to a press release.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is set to release a draft Environmental Impact Statement on Monday. The document would consider the project’s possible environmental impacts, tribal concerns, job creation and other factors.
Enbridge Energy argues the replacement is needed due to the age and current condition of the existing Line 3 pipeline, which runs from Alberta, Canada, to a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The new pipeline would carry 760,000 barrels per day through Minnesota.
The Minnesota PUC currently overseeing the project under a contested case hearing process, which is presided over by an administrative law judge. The intervenors are seeking to become parties in the case by showing different ways that they would be directly impacted by such a project. All intervenors will be representing themselves, according to the MN 350 press release.
“Line 3 is not for the public good — it’s for private profit,” said Mark Herwig, an avid outdoorsman who owns land on the proposed pipeline route in Carlton County, in a statement. “This pipeline does not belong in the state’s sensitive headwaters area because it will leak, access for repairs will be difficult, and a spill can’t be cleaned up. A pipeline will ruin the award winning wildlife habitat work on my 44-acre dream hunting grounds.”
“I will not remain silent while the 1855 treaty territory is being threatened and our water is under attack,” said Mysti Babineau, a mother, Minnesota resident, and enrolled member of Red Lake Nation, in a statement. “I fight for clean water for everyone’s future generations. I will fight this pipeline every step of the way. Nibi Bimaadiziwin!”
Other intervenors include former Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Regional Director Willis Mattison (Osage, MN), Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup leader John Munter (Warba, MN), and other young people and northern MN residents.
Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly will meet with all intervenors in St. Paul on May 15th (the deadline for intervenor filing), and likely decide that day whether to accept or reject these petitions for intervention. If accepted, intervenors will be representing themselves in this quasi-judicial process instead of hiring lawyers.
“I am filing for citizen intervention on the Line 3 proposal because of my concern over opening a new energy corridor, abandoning the existing line in place, and most importantly, my concern for the source waters of Northern Minnesota,” said James W. Reents, a resident of Hackensack, in a statement. “The environmental impact statement should address this, yet no one agency is completely charged with protecting our public waters. My hope is that I can have some impact as a citizen in that regard.”
In a statement to Lakeland News, Enbridge re-affirmed the necessity for the replacement project, while expressing support for public involvement.
“Line 3’s replacement is a key piece of Enbridge’s safety-driven maintenance program. We will continue to work cooperatively with regulatory and permitting authorities, government agencies, elected officials and the public as we proceed with the regulatory process in Minnesota,” a representative for Enbridge said in a statement. “Enbridge supports constructive public involvement in the process.”