Public can comment on upcoming Sandpiper, Line 3 study
LITTLE FALLS--State regulators are planning an analysis of what the Sandpiper and Line 3 oil pipeline projects might do for--and to--the state of Minnesota if completed. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce gave citizens from north ce...
LITTLE FALLS-State regulators are planning an analysis of what the Sandpiper and Line 3 oil pipeline projects might do for-and to-the state of Minnesota if completed. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce gave citizens from north central Minnesota the chance to say how big they think the analysis should be.
An environmental impact statement, or EIS, will study the impact of the projects, not just on the ecosystem of the area affected by the pipelines but also the social and economic changes that might happen as well.
Five of the six people who gave oral comments at the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls Tuesday were skeptical due to the potential for an oil spill. Members of local lake and watershed associations spoke out against the danger they felt a pipeline would pose to local water quality.
Claire Steen, president of the Upper Hay Lake Association, said an oil spill would threaten the area's vital tourism industry.
"My fear is that if there is an oil spill, there is absolutely no 100 percent guarantee that our water will not be polluted," she said. "Any amount of oil in our precious water would be an economic disaster for our lakes area."
Mike Franklin of the Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance was the lone public commenter speaking in favor of the pipelines, and for a streamlined EIS.
"A fair and final evaluation of these projects has been delayed for far too long, and unnecessarily," he said.
Franklin said the project would create construction jobs and inject money into the state's economy.
The public comment period on the scope of the EIS is open until May 26. The final scoping design is projected to be finished for this summer, and the final EIS itself is to be published in the spring of 2017.
Visit the Department of Commerce's web page to view a complete list of future EIS scoping public input meetings.
Written comments on the scoping may be sent to Jamie MacAlister, Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul MN 55101, via email at Pipeline.Comments@state.mn.us , or through www.sandpiperline3.us , the online comment page for the project.
ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .