Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Featured

Victory! Minnesota Court Requires Environmental Impact Statement on Sandpiper Pipeline!

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.