Sandpiper EIS on HOLD!

August 26th, 2016

SlamOnBrakes2

The Department of Commerce has hit the brakes on Sandpiper Pipeline and Line 3 Replacement Projects “until such time as Enbridge makes clear its intentions about the projects, or until we receive further direction from the Commission.”

Here’s the letter from Bill Grant:

20168-124424-01_Commerce_EIS Scope Decision Document on HOLD

And the guts of it:

DoC_Letter_8-26-2016

YES!!!  Now, about those transmission lines proposed for pumping stations related to these projects????

Notice_Comments

And use eFiling if you want to send attachments.  Go HERE and sign up to eFile, it’s easy, and then you’re not limited by US Mail.

pipelineconstruction2

Word is out, confirming scuttlebutt, that Enbridge will pull the plug on the Sandpiper pipeline.  It’s not official yet, nothing has happened beyond an announcement, but if Enbridge is saying it, IN WRITING, then that means it’s highly likely, eh?

Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. and Enbridge Inc. Announce Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in the Bakken Pipeline System Establishing New Path to the U.S. Gulf Coast

Here’s the important part:

Upon successful closing of the transaction, EEP and Marathon Petroleum plan to terminate their transportation services and joint venture agreements for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project. EEP continues to believe the Bakken region is a highly productive and attractive basin, which has significant crude oil supply growth potential that will require additional pipeline capacity in the future. The scope and timing of the Sandpiper Pipeline Project will be evaluated during the quarter to ensure that it is positioned to meet the growing need for pipeline capacity while offering customers competitive tolls and strong netbacks. Additionally, in conjunction with a termination of the Sandpiper joint venture agreements with Marathon Petroleum, EEP will retain 100 percent ownership in our legacy North Dakota system, which is one of the most competitive outlets available to producers in the State.

(what’s a “netback?”).

Reuters has it right with the “OVERBUILD” characterization:

Enbridge’s Sandpiper looks to be latest victim of pipeline overbuild

For this to be “official,” Enbridge will need to file a request to withdraw their application with the Public Utilities Commission, there will be a comment period, then the Commission will decide whether to approve the request to withdraw.

Suffice it to say, this will/would also mean that the transmission for the Sandpiper tank farm NW of Clearbrook is not necessary because the tank farm will not be built there (or in an alternate site)!  And that’s good news for my clients next to that tank farm.

As happened with Hollydale, because the Sandpiper part is before OAH, Enbridge has to request a Withdrawal, which will be certified to the Commission for its blessing.  Here’s the Hollydale request:

Xcel/GRE Hollydale Withdrawal Petition

And for Clearbrook-Clearbrook West 115 kV transmission for Sandpiper’s Clearbrook tank farm, it’s time for Minnkota to withdraw their application!

So I fired off this missive to the PUC:

PUC Correspondence_Enbridge Press Release

Iit’s time to make sure the PUC knows of this Enbridge plan and the impact of this pullout on the need for transmission support!

turbine2close2house

It’s been a problem for so long.  Minnesota needs respectful wind turbine siting standards, and a part of that is that Minnesota needs wind turbine noise rules.

Way back in 2009, the Minnesota Dept. of Health wrote a report entitled “The Public Health Impact of Wind Turbines” and the PUC opened a docket (PUC Docket 09-845).

In 2016, it’s still an issue, because it’s not been addressed in any meaningful way. Check the Bent Tree docket, starting at 58:36:

Watch video of 7/29/2016 meeting HERE!

So I sent this today, a Rulemaking Petition to the MPCA, and then notice to the PUC that it was sent and that Minn. R. Ch. 7854, the wind siting rules, need work:

Overland – MPCA_Petition for Rulemaking

Overland – PUC Coerespondence re: Petition for Rulemaking

RCMP_McIntyre

It’s been a year now since this shooting, and still no Investigation Report:

 

Here is an anniversary article, and note that the “investigation” has not been completed — come on, it’s been a YEAR!

‘I will never know what got into him’: One year later, family remembers masked man shot by RCMP

Here’s an article that they “shot wrong man” though I find it bizarre that tipping over tables and tearing maps is a justification for shooting someone:

Police shot wrong man at Site C dam open house, Peace River farmer says

Another:

Police mum on link between police shooting, Anonymous group

And another about James McIntyre, the man who was shot, note from above article, police knew with certainty on Day 2 that McIntyre was not the one who “disrupted” the open house:

Police keep Site C disruptor investigation under raps

Here are previous posts on Legalectric:

James McIntyre ID’d as man shot by RCMP – July 23, 2015

And my Letter to the Editor was published shortly after the shooting:

And in the Alaska Highway News… – August 3, 2015

UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEAVES DEEP IMPACTS

Your coverage of the RCMP shooting of James McIntyre has been thorough in this general dearth of information.

I’ve spent the last 20 years advocating against utility infrastructure in the U.S., and the killing of McIntyre by RCMP is horrifying.  

A big part of my schtick is to stand at the door (not inside where I’d be “interfering”) and enthusiastically greet everyone, hand them a flyer about how to participate, and direct them to the meeting.  Had I been at that open house, I’d be the one they found at the door.  Had they told me to leave, I’d have argued and resisted, as always, ramping up if they pushed.

In my experience, utilities have now and then requested police presence, and when I see it, I let the organizers know it’s offensive and off putting, chilling public participation.  People have a right to speak out against a project, and they have a right to be angry!  I talk to the officers too, find out if I can who wanted them there, and let them know it’s inhibiting and threatening to the public.  I figure they just add me to their list of people to watch.  But this atmosphere of blind fear is not acceptable.  Don’t Canadians have a right to free speech?  Civil disobedience is an appropriate response.  Civil disobedience is NOT a death sentence with law enforcement as judge, jury and executioner.

People are being steam-rolled by utility infrastructure projects such as dams, transmission lines, and pipelines, and no one wants to hear about it.  They want opposition to just go away.  People are losing their land, communities are deeply affected, and those affected are not compensated sufficiently to make it acceptable — and money is not the answer to everything!  

Is the Site C project worth the impacts?  Is generating electricity and profiting from it sufficient reason to inflict these impacts, including this death?  Maybe BC Hydro should think again.

—Carol A. Overland, Utility Regulatory Attorney, Minnesota