“Next Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) will review the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to once again delay the Line 3 pipeline replacement permitting process. This delay is entirely unnecessary, but unfortunately unsurprising. In the last 7 years, legally established timelines for permitting projects in Minnesota have been routinely ignored by the MPUC, state agencies, and others that appear to have bowed to a small but vocal group of activists instead of following the law.
Just last month, the MPUC delayed a decision on the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), ignoring the recommendation from Judge Eric Lipman that the FEIS should be deemed adequate, as well as testimony of state agency experts and MPUC staff who advised them the information necessary to make an informed decision was in the report. The ALJ has now added another delay, pausing other aspects of the regulatory process until the FEIS is deemed adequate. We encourage the MPUC to order the ALJ to proceed with the rest of the regulatory process while the FEIS process continues simultaneously. That approach would be consistent with the MPUC’s previous orders.
Doing otherwise will mean months of delay, and yet another construction season missed. Delays have real world consequences. Construction workers go without paychecks, local city and county governments go without tax revenue, local businesses that would profit during construction don’t get those profits. In addition, businesses around the nation looking to invest in projects that require permits from the MPUC continue to question whether or not they can get a fair chance to move their projects forward in Minnesota. All of this is bad for our state.
We implore the MPUC to bring common sense back to their proceedings, reverse the ALJ move, and get the process for permitting Line 3 back on track for a conclusion in April of this year.”
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49
Jobs for Minnesotans
Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Minnesota Pipe Trades Association
North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters