Walz Administration Allows Line 3 Challenge to Continue

Line 3 pipeline would carry climate-polluting tar sands and threaten Indigenous rights

Gabby Brown, gabby.brown@sierraclub.org, 914-261-4626

Natalie Cook, 651-295-3483

Martin Keller (Media Savant Communications) for Honor the Earth, 612-729-8585, mkeller@mediasavantcom.com

St. Paul, MN -- Today, Governor Tim Walz announced that the state’s Department of Commerce will file a motion to reconsider the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval of final conditions for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline, paving the way for the DOC’s challenge of the decision to continue.

In December 2018, the DOC filed an appeal challenging the PUC’s approval of the controversial tar sands pipeline. Prior to the PUC’s decision, the DOC submitted expert analysis and determined that the new Line 3 is not needed and that the proposed project’s “serious environmental and socioeconomic risks and effects outweigh limited benefits.” The PUC ignored this recommendation, as well as recommendations from other state agencies urging them to reject the pipeline.

If built, Line 3 would carry 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day through northern Minnesota, threatening Anishinaabe treaty territory and critical water resources. The social cost of carbon of the project, which is the total cost to society arising from those emissions over 30 years, is estimated at $287 billion.

"We applaud Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan for standing with us in the fight to protect the rights, health, and way of life of the Ojibwe people," said Joe Plumer, Attorney for the Red Lake and White Earth Bands. "The PUC was wrong to allow Enbridge to build Line 3 through treaty-protected lands, and we look forward to making our case in court."

“We applaud the Walz administration for listening to the Department of Commerce’s expert analysis and allowing the department’s appeal of the PUC’s rogue approval of Line 3 to continue,” said Sierra Club North Star Chapter Director Margaret Levin. “This dirty tar sands pipeline would threaten our clean water, communities, and climate, all for the sake of more oil our state does not need. We will continue to urge the administration to do everything in their power to stop Line 3, and look forward to working with Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan to realize a truly clean, just energy future for all Minnesotans.

“For an administration that ran on taking climate change seriously and upholding indigenous sovereignty, continuing the appeal was the only choice that made sense,” said Andy Pearson, Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator with MN350. “We're glad that Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan have chosen to let the process play out. The Department of Commerce has said Enbridge didn't meet the state's requirements for approving a tar sands pipeline like Line 3. Thousands of Minnesotans are grateful today that the DOC's fact-based advocacy for the public interest will be heard at the Court of Appeals.”

“We are deeply grateful to Governor Tim Walz and his staff for re-filing the Department of Commerce (DOC) appeal on the PUC approval of the Certificate of Need. The PUC decision was a rogue decision, contrary to all state agencies and tribal interests. We are thankful that Governor Walz is looking into the clear  lack of need for this project in Minnesota. It’s time for Minnesota to not buckle under the fear mongering of a Canadian corporation,” explains Winona LaDuke, Executive Director and Co-founder of Honor the Earth. “As Minnesota moves toward efficiency and renewable energy,  we want to thank the governor for doing the most prudent thing possible to help avert the ecological economic and social disaster that is Line 3.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.