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Letter: Enbridge did not get what it wants

There was a disconnect between the headline of the Nov.4 article “Legal process could set back Sandpiper” with the first sentence “Enbridge finally got its way.”  No, it didn’t. Enbridge has always said that the Comparative Environmental Analysis (CEA) for their pipelines done by the Department of Commerce was sufficient and that the more detailed EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), done by experts in environmental issues, was not needed. The CEA, for instance, treats all water crossings by pipelines as equal—a farm ditch is the same as a lake or wetland, for instance—whereas an EIS does a qualitative analysis such as comparing whether an oil spill into a lake has more consequences than a spill into a farm ditch. The Minnesota Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, said that Minnesota law (MEPA—Minnesota Environmental Protection Act) requires an EIS before a Certificate of Need for any major energy facility is granted. Friends of the Headwaters has advocated for a comprehensive EIS from the beginning, in early 2014. If the EIS had been done at the start it’s likely Enbridge could be building the pipeline now in a safer place than through our lake country.  Enbridge will fight the EIS to water it down so that it becomes meaningless. They want the CON and Route proceedings rejoined hoping that this will enable them to get by without a rigorous EIS and put their pipes in the lake country. They want to get their way but they haven’t gotten it yet.

Maurice Spangler, Park Rapids