Drama Surrounding Line 3 Approval Shows Dayton’s PUC Has Lost Touch With Reality

Last week, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) unanimously approved the replacement of the Line 3 oil pipeline operated by Enbridge, a Canadian energy company.

Although the PUC agreed the aging Line 3 pipeline (which was built 60 years ago) should be replaced, the heavy trepidation surrounding the approval is proof that the PUC commissioners, all of whom were appointed by Governor Mark Dayton, are losing touch with reality.

For example, multiple commissioners were emotionally distraught about approving the replacement of a corroded and potentially dangerous pipeline.

According to the Star Tribune, PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange choked up during discussion of the pipeline, momentarily wiping her eyes. “How would I feel if I woke up in five years and found out that [the current Line 3] had leaked? It is just too great a cost.”

Ahead of the vote Commissioner Dan Lipschultz said “It’s irrefutable that that pipeline [the old Line 3] is an accident waiting to happen. It feels like a gun to our head … All I can say is the gun is real and it’s loaded.”

Commissioner Katie Sieben said: “This is an especially difficult decision for me to make, and it has no good outcome.”

Line 3 should have never been controversial, and the fact that so many commissioners felt like the approval process was a hostage situation, and not a fantastic opportunity to replace an aging pipeline with a safer one, shows the Dayton-appointed PUC has filed for divorce from reality.

The new Line 3 will be a safer and more efficient way of transporting the oil we all rely upon, it will create 4,200 construction jobs, many of which will be filled by hard-working Minnesotans, and it will will also make America less dependent on Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia for their oil.

So, what’s not to like?

Contrary to what Commissioner Sieben says, the decision should not have been difficult, and the only bad outcome that could have come out of this process would have been a refusal to allow Enbridge to replace an old, and potentially dangerous pipeline.