MN350 decries approval of Line 3 permits as leadership failure, denial of climate reality
November 13, 2020
The climate justice group MN350 today urged the Walz administration to order a halt on any construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline after the Pollution Control Agency approved key permits needed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy.
“Gov. Walz has apparently decided that if Washington won't lead on climate, Minnesota won't either," said Andy Pearson, MN350’s Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator. "Make no mistake. This decision is a sharp escalation against water protectors and climate science.”
Pearson criticized the decision by the PCA and Walz as wildly premature. “Line 3 is facing multiple court challenges by Native nations, grassroots groups, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This decision means that Enbridge may launch construction while the overall need and legality of the pipeline are being fought in court, including by a state agency. There is a good chance that courts will find the pipeline was approved illegally. It’s just common sense, then, to demand that the state immediately halt Enbridge's progress toward construction while those important legal challenges play out.”
Pearson pointed to Gov. Walz’s comments in February 2019 emphasizing that disputed fossil fuel projects should win a “social permit” to proceed. Without widespread support from Minnesotans, “it makes it very difficult to get these done without great disruption,” Walz said.
“It's clear now that Gov. Walz's wish for Line 3 to have ‘a social permit’ was all talk and no action,” Pearson said. “This is a deeply unpopular pipeline that is a disaster for our climate, and it will be fought every step of the way. The climate justice movement will still stop the pipeline, but the governor has made that unnecessarily harder.”
Pearson painted the PCA's approval of Line 3 permits as profoundly out of step with Minnesota values and cited the recent presidential election. “President Trump spent four years angling to protect the profits of Big Oil rather than protecting our planet,” Pearson said. “Minnesota loudly rejected that kind of destructive leadership. The governor had all the legal tools he needed to stop this environmentally catastrophic pipeline. Why would he instead give Trump a parting gift like this in the last days of his term?”