Readers deserve the facts about the Line 3 Replacement Project, a huge private investment in the safety and maintenance of Minnesota’s energy infrastructure. A recent commentary by Winona LaDuke about Enbridge and the project requires a response since the writer’s comments are so far from reflecting reality.
Fact: No executive of Enbridge sits on the board of Minnesotans for Line 3. The assertion that three of our executives do is patently false.
Fact: It’s important to understand the facts around Enbridge’s “lobbying efforts.” Those who know the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission review process understand that all costs -- legal costs and preparation of documents before the MPUC, public hearings, environmental studies, permitting before multiple agencies, etc. – are borne by the applicant and by State statute are defined as “lobbying expenses.” To suggest that this is anything else is disingenuous.
Fact: In 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously found the project’s 13,500-page Final Environmental Impact Statement adequate, based on the most extensive environmental study of a pipeline project in State history, affirming the recommendation of an administrative law judge. The FEIS is produced by the environmental branch of the Department of Commerce, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources.
Fact: The recent decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement affirmed eight of the nine disputed aspects of the analysis, and identified only one issue for further analysis. While disappointing to Enbridge, it is hardly the setback that the writer would lead you to believe.
Fact: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources continue to conduct simultaneous work on the environmental review of permit applications, as State law allows and encourages.
Fact: The economic study conducted by the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Center for Economic Development was commissioned by a Duluth-area economic development group to help them quantify the extensive and positive impact of a $2.6 billion private investment in northern Minnesota. It is usual and customary for the project proposer to participate in such studies by providing inputs, because they have to know how much time, material and labor are necessary to build the project.
For more than four years we have openly and transparently advocated for the Line 3 Replacement Project. We welcome a robust and engaged discussion about the merits of the project, but we need to have that discussion based on facts and not a selective presentation of misinformation, half-truths and innuendo. Factual information about Enbridge and our Line 3 Replacement Project can be found on our website at www.enbridge.com.
Shamla is vice president, U.S. operations, Enbridge.