Emperor Dayton apparently thinks that he doesn’t have to worry what Minnesotans think anymore now that he’s a lame duck. Monday afternoon, Mike Rothman, Dayton’s commissioner for the Department of Commerce, announced that Enbridge hadn’t proved the necessity for replacing Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.
According to the article’s opening paragraph, “Enbridge Energy has failed to establish the need for its proposal to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota and it might be better to just shut down the existing line, the Minnesota Department of Commerce said Monday.” As stunning a statement as that is, it pales in comparison with the Department of Commerce’s filings with the Public Utilities Commission.
According to the article, it said “In filings with the state Public Utilities Commission on Monday, the agency said refineries in Minnesota and the upper Midwest already have sufficient supplies of crude oil and little capacity for processing more of it. It said Minnesota’s demand for gasoline and other refined petroleum products appears unlikely to increase over the long term. And it said the proposal carries serious environmental and socio-economic risks that outweigh the benefits to Minnesota. ‘In light of the serious risks of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built,’ said a filing by Kate O’Connell, manager of the department’s Energy Regulation and Planning Unit.”
I don’t know what Ms. O’Connell is smoking but it must be the good stuff. Thinking that “Minnesota’s demand for gasoline and other refined petroleum products appears unlikely to increase over the long term” is proof of delusional thinking. Most importantly, it’s proof that the DFL doesn’t care about farmers or construction unions.
Not building the pipeline doesn’t mean that this crude oil won’t make it to a refinery. It simply means it’ll be part of an oil train. Putting it on an oil train hurts Minnesotans 2 different ways. First, it ties up trains so farmers’ products can’t get to market as fast. Next, putting oil on trains creates a safety risk.
Despite the Department of Commerce’s head-in-the-sand statements, the United States is going through an energy revival. We’re becoming energy dominant. We’re becoming a net exporter of oil and other fossil fuels. Despite those indisputable facts, Minnesota’s Department of Commerce wants to cripple Enbridge.
This pipeline project is a $7,500,000,000 project that would create thousands of construction jobs. If the DFL gets its way, it will shortchange construction workers. Isn’t it impossible to be the party of labor if you’re opposing labor’s highest priority projects?
Here’s proof that Emperor Dayton is out-of-touch:
“This document will arouse considerable controversy,” the governor said in a statement. “That discord should be recognized as part of the wisdom of the process.”
Speaker Daudt has a different perspective:
Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt called the filings “yet another example of (Democrats) siding with extreme environmental activists while putting Minnesotans’ jobs and safety at risk.”
There’s no reason to think that the environmental activist wing of the DFL will let any gubernatorial candidate (that includes Tim Walz) do anything to rebuild Minnesota’s energy infrastructure. This is a major project:
Commerce said that if the PUC approves the project, it should require a stronger emergency response plan, thicker pipe and other safety measures, as well as more insurance coverage and other financial assurances for cleaning up major releases and decommissioning the pipeline when it reaches the end of its useful life.
There’s no chance that the PUC will approve this during the Dayton administration. Dayton has filled PUC with environmental activists who hate fossil fuels.