In a story here on January 21st, it was noted that the administrative law judge was denying the request of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy to subpoena DNR and PCA witnesses for a hearing on the Sandpiper (“KXL Lite”) pipeline application. The story mentions that the DNR and the PCA were not parties to the Public Utilities Commission case on the pipeline application; the MCEA wants to get the testimony of personnel at the DNR and PCA who have studied the siting issues involved.
Wait a minute. The Department of Natural Resources and the Pollution Control Agency are not parties to the proceeding? You’re kidding, right?
The two agencies most heavily involved with the protection of the environment, and water resources particularly, said, A pipeline to bring tar sand oil across water-rich northern Minnesota? Sure. What the hell, let ’em build what they want. We aren’t interested enough to even have a seat at the table.
It is obvious beyond argument that these agencies ought to be involved in the proceeding; their personnel have expertise and first-hand knowledge about the environmental risks of the proposed Sandpiper route.
In fact, as linked in the earlier story, one employee of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Patrice Jensen, authored an extensive report on the subject that was sent to the Department of Commerce early last summer.
Then the PCA lost interest. You have to wonder what kind of interagency discussions went on in the decision not to intervene. And now the ALJ assigned to the case says, You can’t subpoena non-party experts.
Fishy. Really fishy.
And by the way, has anybody seen Patrice Jensen lately?
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In other news, Reps. Kresha and Howe dropped a bill in the hopper to permit local Minnesota municipalities to opt out of fluoridating their water supplies.
Fluoridation is probably the cheapest and most effective public health measure ever.
I’m sorry; this is just sad.
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But back to Enbridge. These characters are a real piece of work. Enbridge is behind the Sandpiper pipeline project, and Enbridge ≈ Koch Brothers.
The Detroit Free Press had a recent article about Enbridge, noting in the lede:
A National Wildlife Federation report released today criticizes Enbridge Energy’s plans to expand its pipeline capacity in Michigan and elsewhere in North America in light of the company’s more than 800 oil spills between 1999 and 2010.
Eight effing hundred spills in ten years?
Anybody with half a brain would not let these people carry a bucket of sudsy water across a room.
But the PCA doesn’t care! And these are the people in charge of Minnesota’s patrimony of clean water. It is just a good thing they don’t have jurisdiction over anything important.
I kid, of course; this disgusts me. I suspect that these people would sell their children down the river.
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The Republicans in the Minnesota House, though, think that the lapdogs at the PCA and the DNR are way too aggressive. The aforementioned Rep. Kresha, a Little Falls Republican, a chief author of the anti-fluoridation bill, is also a chief author of House File #1, a bill that would, inter alia, prevent the PCA and the DNR, in the event they ever felt like doing their job, from, well, doing it.
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