Vote Climate, Honor The Earth, the Minnesota DFL Environmental Caucus, Minnesota Environmental Partnership and MN350 ask that as representatives of Minnesota citizens, you join Senator John Marty and Representative Karen Clark in rejecting the Public Utilities Commission moving forward with Line 3.
In light of the objections of Minnesota citizens, Indigenous nations of Minnesota, the Dept. of Commerce, the Dept. of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency this commitment to possibly 60 more years of fossil fuel infrastructure —while in transition to clean energy— is a disservice to the public.
It is time to refocus the P.U.C as part of Minnesota’s commitment to adopting the Paris Climate Agreement to prioritize an ambitious reduction of carbon. We want Governor Elect Walz to defend the rights of the next generation.
Please sign the below petition to support the position that Senator Marty and Representative Clark have expressed.
The following are letters from Senator John Marty and Representitive Karen Clark
Senator John Marty
State of Minnesota
November 16, 2018
Daniel P. Wolf, Executive Secretary Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
Dear Mr. Wolf:
I write in support of the Petitions for Reconsideration of your decision to grant a Certificate of Need for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement from the Department of Commerce, Honor the Earth, and Friends of the Headwaters. There are many serious and legitimate challenges to the Certificate of Need for the Line 3 replacement project, but I am limiting my comments to the climate change issue.
The petitions pointed out that the PUC order did not include a demand forecast for energy that would be supplied by the pipeline, as is legally required in granting a Certificate of Need. The failure to include that legally-required demand forecast matters. Certainly, it matters if we are serious about climate.
In asking you to vote to reconsider, I recognize that in some ways, this Line 3 Replacement project seems inevitable, with Enbridge investing millions in preparatory work, in buying supplies, in lobbying and in its extraordinary public relations campaign.
However, I urge you to step back from that sense of inevitability and look at the big picture of climate and the very survival of our children and their children. Worsening forest fires, hurricanes, droughts and floods in the year 2018 - already more severe than 30 years ago - will look minor compared to the natural disasters and sea level rise we will face 30 years from now. Think of our children. And their children.
Consumption of fossil fuels must decline rapidly if we are to halt the disastrous effects of
mate change. Climate scientists point out that the burning of tens of millions of years of fossil fuels in just a few centuries has caused the sharp increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is driving climate change. They warn that unless the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves are left in the ground, we have no hope of preventing catastrophic climate change.
Allowing construction of this pipeline is a decision to build the infrastructure that facilitates the pumping of tar sands oil, which has a greenhouse gas impact as much as 37% higher than
1 Oil Change International, Petroleum Coke: The Coal Hiding in the Tar Sands, (January 2013), p. 4, 39 http://priceofoil.org/content/uploads/2013/01/OCI.Petcoke.FINALSCREEN.pdf
2401 Minnesota Senate Bldg, St. Paul, MN 55155 (651)296-5645 firstname.lastname@example.org
conventional oil. Without this pipeline, the economics of tar sands extraction - already costly
- simply don't make sense, and the oil and gas companies will leave the tar sands in the ground. Expanding rail capacity for transporting tar sands is too expensive and cannot be sustained.
Certainly, the economy will continue to use fossil fuels as we transition to a clean energy future. However, this pipeline project is facilitating the extraction of the dirtiest of those fuels. We need to minimize greenhouse gas emissions as we phase out the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades, not encourage the use of the most harmful of those fossil fuels.
Under Minnesota Rules 7853.0130, Criterion A, the Certificate of Need should be granted if “the probable result of denial would adversely affect the future adequacy, reliability, or efficiency of energy supply." Yet the Department of Commerce and others provided strong testimony that Enbridge has failed to show any need for the project beyond a desire for more efficiency in their system. This has little to do with Minnesota's need, and much to do with Enbridge's desire to make more money.
That's why the law requires a Certificate of Need to be based on a demand forecast showing the need for the fuel. And the failure to provide that demand forecast is a key reason that the Department of Commerce and these other organizations asked for reconsideration.
This is nothing less than a litmus test about whether we are serious about addressing climate change. All of Minnesota's laudable efforts to address climate change – through wind and solar, through storage, through energy efficiency and conservation - are undercut if we approve construction of this pipeline that facilitates the production and use of perhaps the most carbon intense of fossil fuels. Despite Minnesota's good work in promoting renewable energy, approving this unneeded tar sands pipeline means we fail the litmus test. We will have failed our descendants.
Regulatory decisions on pipelines and other energy infrastructure are frequently a balancing act between competing interests. Yet, in this case, there has not been the required demand forecast providing evidence of need for this project.
And, when scientists estimate that there is a 1-in-20 chance that human-caused climate change will have an impact that is "beyond catastrophic" by the end of the century, threatening the very survival of our descendants, the balancing act here is not a close call. As one of the scientists explained it: "To put in perspective, how many of us would choose to buckle our grandchildren to an airplane seat if we knew there was as much as a 1-in-20 chance of the plane crashing?"
And the risk of merely "catastrophic" climate impacts is far higher than 1-in-20.
Finally, I urge your reconsideration because it appears that a big part of the Commission's motivation for granting the Certificate of Need is the belief that without the replacement Line
2 Proceedings of the National Acaderny of Sciences of the United States of America, Yangyang Xua, and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Well below 2 °C: Mitigation strategies for avoiding dangerous to catastrophic climate changes, http://www.pnas.org/content/114/39/10315.full * Ramanathan, Veerabhadran, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-window-is-closing-to-avoid dangerous-global-warming/
3, Enbridge would continue to operate the existing Line 3. I share your concerns about serious problems with the integrity and safety of the existing pipeline.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice Consent Decree makes it clear that the existing pipeline cannot continue to operate in its current form absent substantial improvements in maintenance and monitoring. Denying the Certificate of Need does not mean that the existing
Line 3 can continue to operate in its current unsafe, unreliable condition.
Transporting massive amounts of tar sands oil through Minnesota puts our lands and waters at risk and worsens our climate crisis simply to address Enbridge's perceived “need." This pipeline project is not needed to meet the energy needs of Minnesota or our neighboring states. It will only serve foreign markets and private interests.
With the climate crisis in mind, and an uncertain market for this dirtiest form of oil, I ask you to take the bold step of reversing your prior decision and rejecting the Certificate of Need for the Line 3 Replacement project. Your legacy will be a bold statement to the children of today and tomorrow that Minnesota is truly serious about addressing climate change.
District 62A Minneapolis
November 19, 2018
Daniel P. Wolf, Executive Secretary Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
Dear Mr. Wolf and Colleagues
I am writing to express my support for the Petitions for Reconsideration from the MN Department of Commerce to challenge the PUC decision to grant a Certificate of Need for the proposed Enbridge Pipeline 3 Replacement Project.
I find it shocking that the Commission would grant this Certificate of Need in the face of several major failures of Enbridge to comply with existing law governing PUC decision making processes. Since when do we allow the PUC to overlook the most basic requirement that a utility provide the PUC with a demand forecast for the energy that the pipeline proposes to provide? Does this have any precedent? In recent or past history? If so, please inform me. As far as I can tell this goes against Judge O'Riley's findings and is blatantly illegal.
I also want to express my deep concern about several other issues raised by Honor the Earth, the Mille Lacs Band, the Youth Climate Intervenors and many others. The PUC's decision dismisses all discussion of treaty right's as irrelevant. I find this is almost unimaginable in today's public policy climate of not being afraid to face our own state's legacies of inequities and racism, or as I testified before Judge Riley, our actual legacy of genocide toward our Indigenous Native peoples. As you may or may not know, I represent one of the largest concentrated urban Native American Indian populations in the U.S. in my South Minneapolis Legislative District. I listen to these constituents raise this issue and describe what it means to them, to every Minnesotan.
I have had the privilege of serving with several PUC Commissioners as colleagues in the MN State Legislature. As I complete my 38th year and head off to retirement, I really cannot do so without asking that each please consider the relevancy of the irreversible toxic contamination of our waters that will be the legacy of this Line 3 Pipeline decision. The extremely dirty and sticky tar sands oil that it will surely accidentally spill into our pristine waters reminds me of the PFC toxic pollution that was irreversibly spilled into our East Metro waters. But we have a chance to change that unacceptable environmental and human health risk here. There are alternatives. You've had those alternatives documented by Friends of the Headwaters and others, so I leave that to you to remind the PUC that reasonable alternatives must legally be considered.
Please know that I respect the PUC or I wouldn't ask Commissioners and staff to you do your best, to rise to be your better selves, to reverse course and embrace the opportunity to grant the Petitions for Reconsideration.
With hope and respect
Rep. Karen Clark