Sep 15, 2015 - Victory! Minnesota Court Requires Environmental Impact Statement on Sandpiper Pipeline!
On Monday, September 14, the Minnesota Court of Appeals delivered its decision on the Sandpiper pipeline, a huge victory for citizen and environmental groups. The Court ruled that the MPUC (Minnesota Public Utilities Commission) had violated state law by granting Enbridge a Certificate of Need for the pipeline without conducting a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The MEPA (Minnesota Environmental Protection Act) requires an EIS. The Court sent the case back to the PUC.
The ruling states: “Because the decision to grant a certificate of need for a large oil pipeline constitutes a major governmental action that has the potential to cause significant environmental effects, we conclude that MEPA requires an environmental impact statement to be completed before a final decision is made to grant or deny a certificate of need. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for respondent Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to reconsider whether to issue a certificate of need after an environmental impact statement has been completed.”
Congratulations and many thanks to the Friends of the Headwaters and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy for a successful lawsuit. For more than 2 years now we have been trying to work within a deeply flawed regulatory process in this state. It is good to finally have some intervention. Now we’d like the PUC to make a plan for tribal consultation during the EIS process, something they have so far refused to do.