$11M buys a new oil pipeline to the Great Lakes?

by Rachel Rye Butler

March 27, 2019

© Amber Bracken / Greenpeace

We just got news that Enbridge spent $11.1 million in Minnesotawith most of that aimed at the Public Utilities Commissionto lobby for its Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada through Minnesota to the Great Lakes. That’s right, $11.1 million dollars.

Enbridge is one of the biggest pipeline builders (and spillers) in North America. So, why would they care about the wild rice, the Mississippi River, and tribal lands that will be put at risk by a potential pipeline spill?

Enbridge’s motivations don’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is the sheer amount of money they’re willing to spend to thwart the democratic environmental regulatory process in Minnesota. I’ll say it again Enbridge spent $11.1 million dollars in lobbying money to push through the Line 3 pipeline. Let that sink in. And, to boot, it was the biggest lobbying spender in the entire state— dropping five times more dollars than the next runner up.

So, with that (shocking but really not shocking) news, it’s no surprise that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) declined its last opportunity to revoke Line 3’s permits this week.

This is the exact decision that Enbridge’s wanted.

But that money can’t drown out the voices of Minnesotans who have repeatedly said they do not want this pipeline. Over 90 percent of the public comments submitted to the Public Utilities Commission opposed Line 3, and that should matter more than Enbridge’s dollars.

The Public Utilities Commission decision this week opens the door for those fighting to stop Line 3 from wrecking the climate, polluting water, and trampling indigenous sovereignty to appeal the pipeline permits.

Here’s where Governor Walz comes in.

Earlier this year — after significant public pressure including everything from tweets to a visit from faith leaders to his office imploring him to take actionGovernor Walz took an amazing first step to #StopLine3 and committed to appeal Line 3’s permits.  Now is his chance to make good on that promise.

But that’s not all he can do. As you can imagine, the Governor’s voice carries a lot of weight. Governor Walz has the ability to use the bully pulpit of his office to come out strongly against the pipeline.

And, given his recent clean energy proposal that would get Minnesota’s electricity sector off fossil fuels by 2050, now is the time to point out that any action Governor Walz takes on climate would be undermined by Line 3’s climate pollution if it is built.

That’s why thousands of Minnesotans are calling on Governor Walz to do everything in his power to #StopLine3. Will you join them?

Minnesotans have already begun building a more just, thriving economy run on clean energy, and with 11 years left to cut climate pollution in half, there’s no room for fossil fuel projects like Line 3.

Governor Walz himself has said, “Climate change is an existential threat. we must take immediate action,” Walz said. “If Washington is not going to lead, Minnesota will lead.”

And that starts with stopping Line 3. Add your name now.

Rachel Rye Butler

By Rachel Rye Butler

Rachel Rye Butler is a campaigner at Greenpeace USA

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