Enbridge Line 3 Project On Track for Permitting

Better In Our Back Yard is excited to hear of this week’s news that by a vote of 3-1, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) agreed that the revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project assessed the impacts of an oil spill in the Lake Superior watershed adequately. After further review, utility regulators concluded that a potential spill in the watershed “would be unlikely to reach the lake itself.”

After approving the revised EIS, the PUC reapproved both the Certificate of Need and Route Permit. All 3 decisions represent a huge step in moving forward with the remaining permit process.

As part of the last portion of Enbridge’s 1960s-vintage Line 3, which is currently operating at about half capacity due to integrity issues, this portion of the pipeline is in clear need of replacement. This project has been undergoing careful study and environmental review for over four years, making it the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota’s history.

The Line 3 replacement project has been evaluated to the highest standards in environmental reviews. It aims to ensure the continued safe transportation of the energy we all need and will create thousands of construction jobs. Better In Our Back Yard is proud to support Enbridge and an industry that continues to fight to make a positive impact to our economy and our state.

For more information, please visit the Duluth News Tribune article in the link below:

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/4919097-Minnesota-regulators-Environmental-review-of-Line-3-adequate?fbclid=IwAR1x7wB1STzlEgNm6PvGd4bn9bdedpQZQwau5mAGISNqZFiPTEH9j0e9HzY

PolyMet Appeal Statement:

Better In Our Back Yard Supports Responsible Industry and Supports PolyMet

Better In Our Back Yard (BIOBY) supports PolyMet’s decision to file a petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Court of Appeals decision announced earlier this week. The decision remanded the company’s Permit to Mine and dam safety permit to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for an unnecessary and time-consuming contested case hearing.

Monday’s decision also proposed a new rule that would have serious implications for our state’s permitting process and subsequent economic development. The new rule provides if there is any conflicting evidence on a material issue of fact—even if the agency previously considered the evidence —the agency is required to hold a contested case hearing. Instead of trusting the process, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ensured that the permitting process will become more cumbersome and challenging for all future projects.

BIOBY trusts the 15 years of scientific work and analysis by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As reported recently, a statement from the DNR, “Notably, the Court’s opinion does not draw conclusions about the validity of the scientific analyses underlying the DNR’s decisions. We remain confident in the solid foundation of our technical work.” Throughout the process, PolyMet has proven its commitment to responsible mining. Moving forward with the NorthMet Project is the right decision for Minnesota.

BIOBY will continue to maintain our support of industrial development in Minnesota and PolyMet’s continual advancement to operation and production.

PolyMet Stands Strong for Responsible Industry

Better In Our Back Yard (BIOBY) is disappointed in today’s announcement that the Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed PolyMet’s DNR-issued permit to mine and dam safety permit and has ordered the DNR to hold an unnecessary and time-consuming contested case hearing.

This ruling completely disregards and disrespects nearly 15 years of careful scientific research and planning by both government agencies and PolyMet as a tedious evaluation of some of the strictest environmental regulations in the country have been reviewed to ensure the protection of our precious natural resources.

Now, because project opponents in the Twin Cities are committed to derailing industrial development and economic opportunity in northeast Minnesota, an already long process will be drawn out further – barring a successful appeal to the state High Court — as the agencies waste time conducting a contested case hearing to review permits and documentation that have already been closely scrutinized and approved.

Instead of trusting the process, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ensured that the permitting process will become more uncertain, more cumbersome and more challenging for all future projects. This decision will have a negative impact on greater Minnesota and deter prospective investors from considering development in our state.

Better In Our Back Yard will continue to maintain our support of industrial development in Minnesota and PolyMet’s continual advancement to operation and production.

Public Utilities Commission: Represents Forward Progress

Better In Our Back Yard is pleased with the Public Utilities Commission’s quick decision to unanimously agree to advance the process for the Line 3 Replacement Project by asking the Commerce Department to conduct a further analysis of Enbridge’s revised EIS within 60 days. This decision represents forward progress for the first time in months.

North Dakota and Minnesota’s 330-mile portion is the last portion that will be replaced in a pipeline that spans over 1100 miles between Edmonton in Alberta, Canada and Superior, Wisconsin.

Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project is the most thoroughly reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota’s history – it’s time to move forward with Line 3 Replacement Project that will energize the Northern Minnesota Economy and deliver safe transportation of crude oil.

Great news all around for Responsible Industrial Development in Northern Minnesota!

Better In Our Back Yard Proudly Supports Enbridge

On Friday, September 27, 2019 The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a denial of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project’s 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC). The action was expected since the MPCA is prohibited by State law from issuing a final 401 WQC until the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been revised to reflect the June 3, 2019 Court of Appeals decision. An EIS is a document that helps with decision making on the State level and describes the positive and negative environmental effects of a proposed project.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will be initiating steps to revise Line 3’s EIS with spill modeling as directed by the Court of Appeals and has scheduled a meeting to confirm the path moving forward on October 1, 2019.

Enbridge is anticipating submitting an updated and revised 401 application in the near future. Better In Our Back Yard is encouraged by Enbridge’s confidence that today’s action by the MPCA will not negatively impact the project’s status or timeline.

Minnesota’s portion of Line 3, which spans 330 miles, is the last portion of Line 3 that has yet to be replaced and is therefore the only portion of Line 3 that is currently not achieving the latest safety standards. The replacement of Line 3 is the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota’s history. With four years of study and environmental review, Better In Our Back Yard is proud to support the replacement of Line 3.

MN State Supreme Court Denies Appeal for Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project

Better in Our Yard is pleased with the Minnesota Supreme Court decision regarding the Line 3 Replacement Project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The decision allows the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to move forward with the process of addressing a narrow deficiency in the EIS.

Better in Our Back Yard looks forward to understanding the process moving forward so Enbridge can continue with the necessary $2.6 billion dollar infrastructure investment in our region. We know there are many contractors and construction tradespeople who are awaiting the career opportunities ahead.

MN State Supreme Court Denial of Appeal for Supplemental EIS

Better in Our Back Yard (BIOBY) commends the Minnesota State Supreme Court for rightfully declining to hear a petition for additional review of PolyMet’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). PolyMet spent over a decade in careful preparation of the EIS, which was published in 2015 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

With this decision, PolyMet can continue project progress – focusing their efforts on maintaining ongoing permit compliance, implementing environmental controls, securing financing, beginning construction and ultimately opening the state’s first copper-nickel-precious metals mine.

Minnesota Court of Appeals Ruling on Nonferrous Mining Rules

Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals announced its unanimous ruling in favor of Minnesota’s nonferrous mining rules. This decision ensures PolyMet’s NorthMet project can continue to take the necessary steps toward the safe operation of our state’s first copper, nickel and precious mine.

Earlier this year, PolyMet became the first company to obtain all Federal and State permits to develop and operate a copper-nickel-precious metals mine in northeast Minnesota. When State of Minnesota permits were issued in late 2018, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness filed a case against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, challenging the administrative rules that guided decisions regarding permits for the NorthMet project.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals rightfully concluded that the rules were valid, as were the standards under which PolyMet received its permits. Every step of the way, PolyMet has demonstrated it can meet or exceed our state’s strict environmental standards. We can mine precious metals here – better – in our backyard.

Letter to Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan

Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan July 26, 2019
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Honorable Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan,

There is a siege underway in our region – one that is attempting to prevent forward momentum of PolyMet Mining’s NorthMet project. The population in St. Louis County, and many Iron Range communities, continues to decline while our property taxes continue to rise. This declining population has created a gap in how public health and education services are paid for and deployed. Good-paying, private sector jobs are the answer to this challenge – they support both families and communities.   

PolyMet Mining’s NorthMet project and the associated jobs are critical to Iron Range citizens and communities. PolyMet has proved time and time again the project will meet the rigorous environmental standards put in place by the State of Minnesota. We have waited nearly 14 years to see it come to life. The company has gone through more agency review than any other project in the State – maybe even the Country.

Once operating, the NorthMet project is expected to employ 350+ permanent jobs, create 600 spin-off jobs and add a $515 million annual boost to St. Louis County. The jobs, many in the trades, will support families and help drive an economy that has slowly declined for nearly 40 years. 

Construction alone is estimated to inject nearly $1 billion into the region. This will transform small Iron Range communities like Virginia, Hoyt Lakes, Aurora, Hibbing, and Gilbert whom are hungry for growth. These communities are counting on PolyMet.

We ask that you hold firm on the permits issued to the company. 

We do not oppose continuous improvement in the permitting process. In fact, we’ve often been the engineers, project managers, laborers, and scientists on the job providing recommendations to improving the process throughout the years. 

Claims by the metro legislators and opposition groups are another attempt to halt development in rural Minnesota and divide our state. The request to stop the project is based on incomplete information and sensationalism. We ask you this on behalf of the members of Better In Our Back Yard – men and women who work, live and recreate in the communities impacted by PolyMet.  

These claims conveniently overlook one critical factor – here, in Minnesota – in our own back yard – industry operates under some of the world’s most stringent safety and environmental regulations. Glencore has been part of the equation for more than 10 years, supporting and sharing PolyMet’s and Minnesota’s dedication to protecting the local people, communities and environment. 

PolyMet was awarded permits with strict conditions and hefty financial assurance requirements that must be met by the company, by the project, regardless of ownership. PolyMet will operate the NorthMet project within those conditions because they must do so. Period.

We ask you to see these recent requests of your office by environmental groups for what they are – just more attempts to draw out a process that is already complete. Help northern Minnesotans strengthen our economy and work in the communities we live in. We believe that moving forward with the project is in the best interest of Minnesotans because we know we can mine responsibly here, better – in our back yard. 

As a grassroots organization Better In Our Back Yard would like to provide a new perspective on issues that affect our industries and region. On behalf of our members, and the Board of Directors of our organization, we thank you in advance for consideration of our comments.

Respectfully,

Kurt Doran, NTS, Inc.
Board Chair, Better In Our Back Yard

And in unison with the Better in Our Back Yard Board of Directors:
Nik Bayuk, Minnesota Power
Adam Christensen, GPM, Inc.
Joni Dahl, Iracore International
Rachel Johnson, Precision Pipeline
Derek Pederson, Laborers Local 1091
Lisa Rudstrom, Virginia Minnesota Public Schools