Minnesota Democrats Continue Taxpayer Lawsuit Against Line 3 Pipeline

The Minnesota House has shot down legislation that would force the state Commerce Department to drop their appeals for regulatory panel's approval of Enbridge Energy’s plan to replace their Line 3 crude oil pipeline in northern Minnesota. This came shortly after the Minnesota Senate passed the legislation on Mar. 28

On Mar 26 Minnesota utility regulators gave their final approval for the pipeline that has moved the project forward. Now, the decision for further progression on the pipeline rests in the court. The Department of Commerce, along with local tribes and environmental groups, have filed appeals to block the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s granting of a route permit for the pipeline that occurred last June.

Legislators have been working to overturn these appeals with SF 1757 and HF 1710. These bills would prohibit the commission of commerce in the Department of Commerce from using their appropriations for any activities relating to “supporting the preparation or filing of an appeal”

The Senate voted 34-30 to pass the prohibition while the House voted 75-51 to table it, further blocking it from consideration. Many Democrats who support Line 3 voted against the legislation because they fear it sets a bad precedent.

Senator Paul Utke (R- Park Rapids) chief authored the Senate bill to prohibit the state’s appeals saying “we have one department suing another over a politicized issue that’s only outcome will be the delay of a critical infrastructure project and the waste of taxpayer dollars,” calling it “a new low in our state government.”

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