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Letter: Influence of the oil lobbyists

Regarding the March 28, 2015 Enterprise headline, "Certificate of Need ruling on Sandpiper pipeline expected April 13":

During the last decade, oil industry lobbyists who anticipated the Bakken boom convinced the Minnesota Legislature to shift the pipeline approval process from the Environmental Quality Board to the Department of Commerce.

The commentary provided on April 13 will be part of a quasi-judicial approval process designed by the Department of Commerce. However, there won't be a definitive ruling on Enbridge's application for a Certificate of Need until June when the commissioners at the Public Utilities Commission make their decision.

Last year Enbridge spent over $1.2 million just lobbying Minnesota government. It's very difficult to thwart the influence that kind of money can buy.

In an effort to provide Minnesota with more accurate information, the Environmental Quality Board, together with 30 specialists from 11 state agencies (including the DNR and the MPCA), recently created a report that addresses the economics of oil transportation; environmental and human health impacts; spill prevention, preparedness, emergency response and safety and pipeline approvals. I encourage you to read it.

Melodee Monicken

Park Rapids