By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Enbridge Line 3 approved by MPUC


The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) voted 5-0 to approve a certificate of need on June 18 for the replacement of the old Line 3 of Enbridge Pipeline. In further action, on a 3-2 vote, the Line 3 corridor was approved following most of Enbridge’s preferred route except in the Carlton County area where a possible route would go north of Big Sandy Lake in Aitkin County and then drop south into Carlton County and on to the Superior Terminal.

Negotiations are to be carried out between Enbridge and the Fond Du Lac Band in the next two months to decide the best new pipeline corridor. Calls for litigation are coming fast and furious from Minnesota Tribal Bands and environmental groups. Twenty-nine permits need to be resolved from federal, state and local authorities before construction can commence.

Bob Schoneberger, who works for United Piping and also represents the group Minnesotans for Line 3, applauded the decision. He said, “It is nice to hear the commissioners agree with what we felt pretty strongly about all along. You can’t close the valve and make this go away. To the extent we can make a reliable supply, it helps keep energy prices low, it keeps it affordable for those who struggle, and closing the valve is going to hurt people.”

The pipeline corridor goes through tribal lands covered by the 1855 treaty. White Earth tribal member Dawn Goodwind remarked, “This is our time to assert those rights and make them honor our treaties. Our treaties are guaranteed under the Constitution. It’s the supreme law of the land. And they don’t get it, they don’t want to get it, and we’re all prepared to stand up for our rights.”

In other Carlton County business, the county board met in Adjourned Session on June 25 and accepted a grant of $234,000 for site work at the Cloquet Airport. The county has to pay 30 percent of the cost of the project in order to get the grant monies. This is just a step in future plans to provide more hangar space for the facility.

Land Commissioner Greg Bernu received approval to provide help to Douglas County, Wisconsin to assess tree damage during the heavy flooding in the early part of June. This assessment is in preparation for FEMA funding.

The county board was updated on plans for the Cloquet White Pine Apartment Project next to Aspen Arms. These projects pay some property taxes but it is usually calculated on 5 percent of the rental income of the particular property. This is called Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). As an example, Moose Lake’s High Rise complex for the elderly or low income pays about $20,000 property taxes a year under this formula.


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