LISTEN HERE: http://minnesotapuc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?event_id=1856

It’s pretty disturbing.  Today started out with the Commission asking Intervenors to pick their least awful route option.  WHAT?!?!  That is NOT how a line is chosen. I think they’re using that to build a “record” (NOT!) for whatever decision they may make.

As the Commission was reminded, the Commission is to choose a route, only AFTER a Certificate of Need is granted, based on the criteria in the statutes and rules.  Commissioner Sieben turned to a pretty manipulative attempt at burden of proof shift, looking for a statement to get them off the hook.  NO!

NO?  That’s correct.  This is the Commission’s job, and if there’s no need, deny the application.  If there’s no acceptable route, deny the application.  The ALJ made a Recommendation, and the Commission has to deal with that.

Then there’s the push about System Alternative SA-04.  That route would go right through my Association of Freeborn County Landowners’ community, and AFCL filed an Exception regarding that SA-04 route:

Line 3 – Exceptions to ALJ’s Report

Sieben keeps saying it’s a “difficult decision.”  Yeah, it is.

Lipschultz keeps asking which alternative is least objectionable.  NO. JUST STOP THAT!

Today was the deadline for filing Exceptions to the Administrative Law Judge’s Recommendation for Line 3 Certificate of Need and Route.  Here’s the ALJ’s Recommendation:

Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation

I quick filed an Exception on behalf of Association of Freeborn County Landowners, objecting to inclusion and objecting to any consideration of “System Alternative 04” or SA-04, because no notice was given to landowners in Freeborn County, and well, to any of the landowners along SA-04.

Association of Freeborn County Landowners_ Exceptions to Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendation of ALJ

Friends of the Headwaters proposed SA-04, the only “System Alternative” proposed in the Certificate of Need proceeding.  … sigh…. foisting it elsewhere is not a good strategy.  Search their Exceptions for more info on their rationale – do a search for “SA-04” of this filing:

20185-142900-04_Exceptions – Friends Of The Headwaters

Are there others advocating for AS-04?  Looking… it’ll take a bit.

System Alternative SA-04 is noted 139 times in the ALJ’s Recommendation, and is first mentioned on p. 24:

And the Public Utilities Commission accepted it for further evaluation, but no notice was provided:

But no meetings in the area — and still no notice:

… sigh… on it goes…

And regarding the DNR’s take on SA-04 (will find DNR comment):

Here are all the other references to SA-04 in order — the ALJ does reject it, saying it is not a viable alternative:

And then the ALJ considers comments:

The DNR comments are troubling:

Here’s the actual DNR Comment:

201711-137640-01_DNR’s  Comment (SA-04)

The DNR said about SA-04:

And back to the ALJ’s mentions of SA-04:

 

 

Fair use – from Enbridge’s Line 3 website

Looks like a lot of folks are angry with Judge O’Reilly’s Enbridge Line 3 decision.

Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation

Oh well… she had to make some decision and I think she did an excellent job of weighing all the factors, getting into the details in a very difficult case, and come up with a Recommendation that pisses everyone off!  That’s something that takes a LOT of work and is very hard to do!

Here’s a post on it with an insightful/inciteful framing of the decision and what it means:

Pipeline “poison approvals”: a new trend?

In the press, people are getting wound up.  From MPR:

Dayton: No ‘viable way’ to build new Line 3 pipeline on current route

From the MPR piece: The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has denounced the judge’s recommendation, calling it “a clear attack on sovereignty and Tribal communities.”

My take is that O’Reilly laid out the Leech Lake Band’s sovereignty and power and the lay of the land as it exists now — the easements are there now, allowing Enbridge to use the land until 2029.  This recommendation sets the stage for the easement renegotiation in 2029, where the Band has power to say “NO!” and Enbridge is very afraid of that, facing either outright refusal or greatly increased easement payment as the obvious outcome.  This Recommendation, and use of the existing easement gives Leech Lake greater leverage going forward, and might even move those easement negotiations up in time.  If that renegotation is a decade in the future, Enbridge will also by then be operating in a very different world than exists right now, with decreased oil use and demand.  O’Reilly also noted that if a new corridor were used with this, given state non-proliferation, Enbridge would logically seek to use that corridor for all its pipelines going forward.

Along this line (but note that LaDuke, Honor the Earth, is the one quoted, and there are no quotes from Leech Lake or Fond du Lac tribal officials, who should be the ones weighing in here):

Minnesota Pipeline Ruling Could strengthen Tribes’ Legal Case Against Enbridge Line 3

And more, this with quotes from tribal officials:

Major pushback against Line 3 recommendation

In a statement Tuesday, April 24, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe described the recommendation as “anti-sovereignty” and said that it “puts undue burden on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to hold the risk of the pipeline replacement and to revoke the permit.”

“The judge has made this horrific recommendation without even holding a single ALJ hearing on the Leech Lake Reservation and gave a recommendation on a route that has not had the same level of environmental review,” wrote Ben Benoit, the band’s environmental director.

Once more with feeling — If you have comments, objections, there’s been a notice issued regarding submission of “Exceptions” which are due May 9, 2018:

20184-142282-01_Exceptions Notice

Line 3 proposed and alternate routes

The Administrative Law Judge’s Recommendation is out:

Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation

Enbridge should be glad they got this Recommendation.  There’s something for everyone in this decision, and there’s something for everyone to object to — which tells me it’s a job well done.  It’s a fascinating read, exposing the misrepresentations of Enbridge about quite a few material issues, particularly about Enbridge circumventing FERC requirement of removing the pipeline, the paucity of the “jobs jobs jobs” claim, and the need to renegotiate easements with tribes, which factors into Enbridge’s “inexplicable” easement acquisition for up to 4 pipelines as it finagled for this Line 3.  READ THE Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation!  Judge O’Reilly did a great work in digging through the literally tons of materials in this docket.  The misrepresentations and omissions are so blatant that there’s a firm basis for requiring disclosure and correction of their application, and were I the ALJ, outright denial of their application!  They’ve been caught.  It’s all well documented in the Recommendation.

Something near and dear to me about this — note the “SA-04” alternative route — it goes right through two of the Freeborn County townships dealing with the Freeborn wind project. Notice?  See p. 47-48.

Guess the Certificate of Need “Notice Plan” and notice requirements are worthless…

Apparently the karst is more important than notice:

And the DNR supported this option?!?!

However, SA-04 was deemed not a viable alternative:

If you have comments, objections, there’s been a notice issued regarding submission of “Exceptions” which are due May 9, 2018:

20184-142282-01_Exceptions Notice

Here’s how this is interpreted by the press:

‘There’s a ton riding on this’: Enbridge pipeline project dealt blow in Minnesota

Judge: Enbridge Line 3 project should follow existing route

Ruling: Minnesota regulators should approve new Line 3 pipeline — if it follows current pipeline’s route

 

Pipeline shut down in PA

March 8th, 2018

Look at those nice calm colors that make this look so innocuous… GUESS AGAIN!

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has ordered the Mariner East Pipeline Project shut down.

PUC orders Sunoco pipeline shutdown after sinkholes expose bare pipe near Exton

Here’s the project site:

Pipeline Information Center

And PA site:

Mariner East II – PA DEP – PA.gov

And a photo of the sinkhole site, right in the middle of a neighborhood:

 

And another:

PA Environmental Daily Blog – fair use

And it’s “Energy Transfer Partners” on this one:

Mariner East 1 natural gast pipeline was temporarily idled due to sinkholes near work on Mariner East 2 – Pittsburgh Business Times