Skip to main content

Lawmakers jump on report of pollution agency staffer's pipeline emails

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

An environmental agency's emails about a long-gestating controversial pipeline project have led to more questions – and more political back-and-forth.

Earlier this week, the Pioneer Press reported Scott Lucas, a staffer at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, sent two emails that suggested he was clearly against the Sandpiper Pipeline proposal.

That's the $2.6 billion oil pipeline that would run across the width of Minnesota, carrying about 225,000 barrels of oil per day from North Dakota's Bakken region to Superior, Wisconsin. But the plan has been questioned for its possible environmental impact.

The staffer emails report was quickly jumped on by elected officials who support the project, most of them Republican.

https://twitter.com/ronkresha/status/684563125635514368

https://twitter.com/mnsrc/status/684718918980599809

https://twitter.com/PatGarofalo/status/684550005332377600

During a legislative working group meeting Thursday, the Pioneer Press report was even held up by a lawmaker to argue a point:

https://twitter.com/dhmontgomery/status/685174957257539584

Gov. Mark Dayton reacted to the emails Wednesday, saying it may have "really crossed the line" if someone in a Pollution Control Agency role was actively supporting an advocacy group, the Star Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, KDAL reports the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says it's investigating.

Dayton's political history with the pipeline has been a target for local GOP.

Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, this past September, accused Dayton of blocking progress on the pipeline by directing state agencies to turn up the pressure.

In response, the governor said he understands the need for the pipeline, but won't get in the way of the process, letting the Court of Appeals and Public Utilities Commission determine what happens.

What's the latest with the Sandpiper project?

(Get ready for some detailed licensing process talk coming up here.)

Well in September, a judge ruled that before utility authorities can issue what’s called a certificate of need – basically, it’s a go-ahead from the Public Utilities Commission that says a given project is one the state needs, and it can continue – an environmental review has to be done.

However, the Public Utilities Commission began going through the certificate of need steps in June, before an environmental review was done – which isn’t within the commission’s usual practices, the ruling says.

The environmental review process usually takes about a year, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission says.

Business groups such as the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce support the Sandpiper for its value as an economic development tool. It’s expected to create some 1,500 construction jobs.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-27 at 9.15.45 PM

Buckeyes crash the glass, fend off Gophers

E.J. Liddell dominated in the paint to help No. 16 Ohio State.

nicolas blouin flickr fire hose

Fire departments decry drivers running over hoses, endangering crews

It happened in two separate Northland cities this week.

All Energy Solar - Bringing Panels to Roof

All Energy Solar reaches growth milestones with higher goals yet for 2022

Minnesota solar company continues to thrive through building a strong workforce

Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintoba crossing crop

Authorities ID family found frozen to death at MN-Canada border

They're still trying to unravel how they got there and who might have helped them.

covid

Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

police lights

Charges: Man in stolen Jeep leads police on 110 mph chase

He crashed into a light post near the Capitol and then fled on foot, the complaint says.

kua dog go fund me

Puppy in back of stolen Audi found, reunited with owner

The 4 1/2-month-old bullmastiff had been missing more than a week.

Fuzzy Gerdes Flickr Franks Diner Kenosha

WI's best 'hole-in-the-wall' diner is Guy Fieri-approved

Come for the "garbage pile," stay for ... even more breakfast food.

FKISmwPWUAYZJW6

Minnesota's pre-pro women's soccer team unveils name, logo

The new name and look was unveiled after community owners voted on a winner.

fentanyl DEA

21 people charged in connection to drug trafficking in northern MN

Police say the organization sold more than 10 pounds of heroin and fentanyl in northern Minnesota.

Band Box Diner Courtney Mault Flickr

MN's 'best hole-in-the-wall diner' is, sadly, currently closed

MSN recently published its pick for best diner in each state.

Related