MN Pipeline Legislation Issues

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MN Pipeline Legislation Issues - 

Two pieces of problematic language are being considered in the Jobs and Energy Omnibus Bill  (SF1937) that:

  • Remove pipelines from the Certificate of Need process at the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

  • Prohibit alternative routes from environmental review that do not contain the applicant’s preferred Minnesota entrance/exit points.

For the sake of our remaining clean water in Minnesota, please ask your Legislators and the Governor to keep these policies out of the final version of the bill.

Minnesota is a water rich state, and Enbridge is supposedly “replacing” one of their pipelines, but they are proposing

  • a larger diameter line that will carry tar sands instead of just light weight oil doubling the existing pipeline’s flow rate

  • a new corridor for half its route and

  • to abandon the old line in its current place, with the likely potential for contaminated soil underneath.

All pipelines leak, and pipelines spill three times more oil than rail when they do spill.

The National Academy of Scientists states the thick tar sand, or diluted bitumen, is “highly problematic” to remove from water once it spills and has weathered. There are few effective techniques for detecting, containing and recovering this type of oil once submerged.

Friends of the Headwaters won a unanimous lawsuit at the Minnesota Court of Appeals resulting in an EIS for crude oil pipelines. Sound scientific analysis is required for Minnesota to determine the least environmentally harmful corridor, and if this tar sands oil is even needed. The EIS process must also include meaningful tribal consultation, consideration of the violation of sovereignty principles and UNDRIP (Free Prior Informed Consent) as well as the disparate human health impacts on communities already surviving well-documented structural racism in health access and outcomes.

Our most pristine waters, permeable soils and best wild rice lakes are no place for a new tar sands pipeline corridor. This pipeline would also go through 1855 treaty land, where native people have the right to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony and travel. Wild rice is a primary economic, nutritional, cultural and spiritual resource.

Where is the need for this tar sands oil?

  • The United States’ inventory of crude oil is at an all-time high, as the worldwide supply of oil has exceeded demand for two years. Although Canada wants to get their land-locked oil to market, tar sands projects are among the most expensive to extract. Demand for refined products is down in Minnesota, in the region and in the USA by 19%, 5% and 6% respectively, while exports of refined products are dramatically increasing.

  • The top three oil producers’ debt load is climbing as low prices have hurt their profits. Several producers have pulled out of the Canadian tar sands market. ExxonMobil recently admitted to $3.4 billion dollars of stranded assets in the tar sands fields of Canada if oil prices do not rise above $60.

  • The worldwide need for additional tar sands oil is not clear.

Please ask your Representatives and the Governor to allow the Certificate of Need process at the PUC to continue to oversee the need for pipelines, with a robust EIS with full citizen, tribal nation and scientific input.

Stop Tar Sands at the Source