Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota

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Ellison Sends Letter Sharing Constituent Concerns Over Line 3 Pipeline

Nov 28, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent the following letter to Nancy Lange, Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission: 

“Dear Chair Lange and Members of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission:

I write to share concerns from my constituents regarding Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 replacement pipeline. In recent months, hundreds of individuals have contacted me about the proposed project, and I’ve met with dozens of advocates on all sides of the issue. As the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MNPUC) reviews this pipeline proposal, I encourage Commissioners to address the following aspects of the project.

When I met with a group of young climate organizers granted intervention status, they expressed concern regarding the impact this project will have on climate change. Many of my constituents noted that the Line 3 replacement pipeline would be transporting tar sands crude, which is among the dirtiest fossil fuels. Canadian tar sands oil is up to 370o more carbon intensive than regular oil. A new tar sands pipeline at full capacity 760,000 barrels per day would have a carbon footprint of about 16-18 million cars on the road every year of the pipeline’s operation. When reviewing this project, the MNPUC should ensure that the pipeline would not further exacerbate the warming of our planet or undermine Minnesota’s ability to achieve statutory greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Many constituents also expressed concern about the risk posed to downstream communities. The Polaris Institute found that Enbridge pipelines had over 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, including the release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. The proposed Line 3 reroute would cross the Red River, the Mississippi, and the Lake Superior watersheds, 192 surface waters, and hundreds of wetland acres. Millions of people and thousands of cities line the shores of the Mississippi, and a spill or leak could have severe consequences on access to drinking water.

Tribal communities have also shared with me their deep opposition to the pipeline. This proposal crosses 1855 treaty land, areas important for fishing, hunting, and gathering wild rice. The environmental justice section of the Final Environmental Impact Statement indicates that “American Indian populations...will experience disproportionately high and adverse impacts... [T]he intensity of impacts felt by American Indian populations will be greater than depicted by quantitative analysis alone because of their cultural and spiritual relationship with the natural environment.” Minnesota must respect our treaties and address the legitimate issues that the pipeline presents to the rights we have guaranteed to our indigenous neighbors.

I urge the MNPUC to take into consideration the risks I have outlined in these comments when you make a final decision on the certificate of need for the project.”