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Revealed: The biggest lobbying spenders in Minnesota last year

Enbridge spent the largest amount on lobbying in a single year since 2002.

What's happening?

The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board has released its list of lobbying spending in Minnesota for 2017.

In total, just under $64.3 million was spent on "general lobbying," including spending to influence decisions at the State Legislature, while almost $10 million was spent on lobbying Minnesota's energy regulator, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The general lobbying bill was lower than the almost $67 million spent last year.

Who was the biggest spender?

Of that $10 million spent on lobbying the PUC, half of it came from Enbridge, the Canadian company that is seeking approval to replace its Line 3 crude oil pipeline that stretches from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.

The replacement line has been opposed by environmentalists and tribal elders, but last week had a victory when its environmental impact statement was approved by the PUC.

Enbridge spent $5.08 million lobbying the PUC in 2017, and a further $260,000 on general lobbying.

Judging by records dating back to 2002, this is the highest amount spent on lobbying in Minnesota in a single year.

Who else spent big?

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which was the biggest spender in 2016 at $2.76 million, cut its lobbying bill this year to just under $2.2 million.

It's the second biggest spender, ahead of MN Business Partnership Inc. at $1.42 million and Education Minnesota at $1.38 million.

Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy, Minnesota's two biggest utilities companies, also made the top 10.

Most of Centerpoint's spending was on lobbying the PUC, while Xcel's was split between general lobbying and PUC lobbying.

Here are the top 15 biggest lobbying spenders in 2017.

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