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It isn’t a secret that I don’t buy into the Twin Cities media’s depiction of the DFL as one big happy family but with a couple minor differences that aren’t worth talking about. Frankly, I think that storyline is about as dishonest as Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.

If I got $10 for every person that’s read one of my ‘the DFL is totally nuts’ posts, I’d own an island in the Caribbean. I’ve written how the DFL has essentially rejected blue collar Minnesota. If I can highlight anything or re-inforce anything, that’s what I’d highlight or re-inforce. The differences are real and growing.

I think I’m the only Minnesota journalist that predicted that Republicans would flip the Minnesota Senate to a GOP majority. The reason I made that prediction is because the DFL rift between white collar Minnesota and blue collar Minnesota is getting bigger. Attitudes are getting more hostile towards each other, too.

Harold Hamilton has his finger on Minnesota’s pulse. Each Friday, Harold writes a commentary. This week’s commentary is on this exact subject. What’s most entertaining about Harold’s commentary is when he wrote “The arrogance of the urban liberal is a sight to behold. It’s also been somewhat amusing to watch DFL leaders dance on the head of a pin trying to explain away the civil war as a mere squabble between two key constituencies of the DFL. More importantly, it’s more than presumptuous to call the construction trades a ‘DFL constituency.'”

The thought that the DFL isn’t fighting a civil war is laughable. Harold highlights it with DFL activists’ quotes:

“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here – they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” – Reid Carron, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.” – Becky Rom, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, speaking of pro-mining Ely city councilman Dan Forsman

“I’m not saying we are writing off the Iron Range. But you don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide.” – DFL Chairman Ken Martin

[Editor’s note: Reid Carron is married to Becky Rom.] Ken Martin isn’t trying to hide the fact that he knows the DFL can all but officially write off the Range. There’s a reason why President Trump defeated Hillary by 15 points on the Range. This is my favorite part of Harold’s commentary:

DFL happy talk of “uniting” around common issues in 2018 is fantasy. And just what are those “unifying” issues, pray tell? Mining? Pipelines? Transgender bathrooms? Gun grabbing? Abortion on demand? Banning menthol cigarettes? Banning plastic bags? Trigger words? Safe spaces? Sanctuary cities? Re-naming Asian Carp so as not to offend?

Does this hearing look like a search for common ground?

Let’s get serious. That looks like the undercard for a mixed martial arts championship fight.

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Thank God for President Trump’s regulators. After years of neglecting the riff-raff that serve as regulators, President Trump is installing a new breed of regulator. I’m certain it’s a shock to the environmental activists who’ve ruled the roost the last generation. That’s why it’s essential to clean out the barn and install new regulators that believe in the rule of law and the Constitution.

One of the people who’s likely to be a new regulator is a Wyoming woman named Karen Budd-Falen. It’s likely that she’ll be “the next leader of the Bureau of Land Management.” According to the article, “Budd-Falen has worked extensively for private property owners, agricultural operations and local governments.” Trent Loos, a Nebraska rancher and the host of a radio show Rural Route, said of Budd-Falen “There’s no doubt why people who oppose multiple use and following the law as it’s written would be opposed to Karen Budd-Falen. She believes in the Constitution the way it was written that guarantees multiple use. Not just rancher use but multiple use.”

Later, Loos said “It’s important to point out that she was railing on the BLM when (the Obama Administration was) against multiple use. That’s why she was raising a stink. We’ve had administrations moving away from multiple use not maintaining it. That’s why she went after the BLM so many times.”

That’s why we should expect lots of theatrics by the Democrats. Think of her as a tough-as-nails female version of Scott Pruitt. Needless to say, environmental activists are freaking out:

“This is probably one of the worst picks he could possibly come up with to head the BLM,” explained Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program. “She’s very ideological, and does seem to be completely offended by the concept of federal lands,” he added.

What’s funny is that the Sierra Club is upset that Budd-Falen is using the same tools that environmental activists have used against power companies:

But Budd-Falen’s approach was to destroy Ratner and Western Watersheds through this nuisance lawsuit accusing him of trespassing. She hardly even tried to hide her intentions, reportedly bragging in 2015 to a group of ranchers that “one of the funniest things I’m doing right now” is that she “figured out a way to sue Western Watersheds Project.”

How is that different than MCEA suing the investors of the Big Stone II power plant? Back then, Paul Aasen bragged about his tactics:

Along with our allies at the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Wind on the Wires, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Fresh Energy argued, first in South Dakota, then before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), that the new plant was a bad idea. Our message was simple: The utilities had not proven the need for the energy, and what energy they did need could be acquired less expensively through energy efficiency and wind.

We kept losing, but a funny thing happened. With each passing year, it became clearer that we were right. In 2007, two of the Minnesota utilities dropped out, citing some of the same points we had been making. The remaining utilities had to go through the process again with a scaled-down 580-megawatt plant.

These environmental parasites don’t care about the environment. They care exclusively about their extremist agenda.

They’re just upset that someone’s using their tactics against them.

It’s indisputable that past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to create national monuments. The worst presidents in terms of misusing the Antiquities Act were President Obama, President Clinton and President George W. Bush. It’s fair to say that each of those presidents misused the Antiquities Act to sidestep the original intent of the law. Rob Bishop’s op-ed highlights how past presidents have essentially ignored the law in creating national monuments.

In Bishop’s op-ed, he wrote “A few statistics can illustrate the scope of the overreach. Between 1906 and 1943, the law functioned basically as designed. Presidents respected the intent of the act. Most monuments were smaller and had clear boundaries with real antiquities inside them. By contrast, designations under the act last year averaged 739,645 acres, or more than 47 times the size of those created 110 years ago. President Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the act. He used it 18 times for a combined total of 1.5 million acres. President Barack Obama used it 37 times to designate 553.6 million acres of land and water.”

Chairman Bishop didn’t just complain about the problem. He’s proposed a solution:

Last week, I introduced legislation to correct these failures and permanently address my colleagues’ concerns. The National Monument Creation and Protection Act would, like the writers of the Antiquities Act intended, allow the president to unilaterally designate land up to 640 acres. Monument designations between 640 and 10,000 acres would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would be required to obtain the approval of all county commissioners, state legislatures, and governors in the affected area. The bill also standardizes and limits the president’s power to reshape monuments.

Chairman Bishop’s legislation is well-written and desperately needed. Unfortunately, there’s no chance it will pass. That’s because it will get stopped by the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate. Their environmental activist friends will insist that the bill be stopped.

That’s because these environmental activists want big, unaccountable government. These activists are almost always Democrats, though a handful are Republicans. These activists have proven time and again that they prefer it when government tramples over people in favor of the ‘greater good’ of saving Mother Earth. These activists don’t like the rule of law. Here’s proof:

In 1996, prior to the designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, Clinton’s then-Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Katie McGinty stated the following, “I’m increasingly of the view that we should just drop these utah [sic] ideas. we [sic] do not really know how the enviros will react and I do think there is a danger of ‘abuse’ of the withdraw/antiquities authorities especially because these lands are not really endangered.”

If McGinty’s name sounds familiar, it’s possibly because she ran for Senate in 2016 against Republican Pat Toomey. Thankfully, Sen. Toomey defeated her. But I digress.

It’s disheartening to see Democrats trample over the law. It’s especially disheartening that Democrats do that for a few extra campaign contributions. That’s how cold-hearted Democrats are. This is what’s most disgusting:

The monument was designated in the waning months of Clinton’s re-election campaign. Its total acreage: 1.7 million — three times the size of Rhode Island. No town halls, no public meetings, and no public comment sessions were ever held in Utah. No input was solicited from local stakeholders or land managers in the area. Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, public officials, and residents from across the state all expressed outrage at the lack of prior consultation or warning of the designation. In what feels like symbolism, the proclamation wasn’t even signed in Utah; it was signed in Arizona.

That’s the opposite of transparency. That’s proof that Democrats don’t like accountable government.

One of the things that I can’t shake in reading this article is whether the Public Utilities Commission will destroy the DFL for the 2018 election. Bear with me while I make the case for why I think it hurts the DFL.

Right now, the Public Utilities Commission is holding hearings on whether to approve the replacement of Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline. The reason why this is potentially devastating is because “the state Public Utilities Commission is expected to decide whether to approve the Line 3 project next spring.” The only thing that might derail the building of the replacement pipeline is the Dayton administration. If this pipeline isn’t built soon, farmers, construction workers and small towns will be upset with the Dayton administration.

Farmers will be especially upset because rejecting this pipeline project will trigger more oil to be transported via oil trains. That limits rail capacity for getting farmers’ crops to market. Whoever the DFL candidate for governor is, they’ll be pressed on whether they’ll support building the pipeline. Anything except enthusiastically supporting the building of the pipeline will be greeted with anger by rural Minnesota.

That, in turn, will spike turnout in rural Minnesota because they can’t afford to have environmental do-gooders destroying farmers’ operations. Based on the information on the PUC’s commissioners page, it’s virtually certain that the PUC will vote against replacing the pipeline. Three of the commissioners are DFL environmental activists. The lone Republican is a former DFL politician who worked as a lobbyist for Conservation Minnesota.

Republican gubernatorial candidates should lay this situation out in rural Minnesota. When they’re campaigning, they should ask farmers if they can afford 4 more years of DFL environmental policies. I’m betting the response will be an overwhelming no!

Look at the results from rural Minnesota the last 2 elections. In 2014, Minnesota Republicans rode a wave from rural Minnesota to recapture the Minnesota House. In 2016, Minnesota Republicans rode anti-DFL sentiment in rural Minnesota to flip the Minnesota Senate.

As I wrote at the time, many of those races were blowouts. In northern Minnesota, Paul Utke defeated DFL Sen. Rod Skoe by a 57%-43% margin. Many of the races weren’t particularly close, in fact. I’d recommend GOP gubernatorial candidates highlight this graphic when campaigning in rural Minnesota:

That graphic will get everyone’s attention because it’s a display of how dysfunctional Minnesota’s permitting process is under DFL control. That won’t get better if Erin Murphy, Tim Walz or Paul Thissen gets elected governor.

When the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department testified that there wasn’t a need to replace the Line 3 Pipeline, we knew they weren’t being totally honest. This week, Enbridge fired back, saying in their official statement “The suggestion that Line 3 can be shut down without any impact on Minnesota is simply not true. Apportionment and property tax reductions would have an immediate effect on Minnesota. Reduced pipeline capacity would increase rail shipments, with as many as 32 additional mile-long trains every day crossing Minnesota. Additional rail facilities would also be required for refineries to utilize rail shipments. The impact on Minnesota’s agricultural economy would be costly and disruptive as evidenced by the agricultural commerce curtailed in 2013-2014 due to increased crude by rail movements.”

The Dayton-DFL-Rothman Commerce Department insisted that “In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built.”

Later, in its testimony, Enbridge replied “Contrary to the DOC testimony, the Enbridge system, which includes Line 3, is currently full and in apportionment. This means demand for capacity exceeds what’s available, and refineries in Minnesota and the Midwest cannot obtain all the crude supply they request. When refiners can’t get the supply they need, they are either forced to produce less or source it through other more costly modes of transportation, like rail, which drives up costs and impacts their competitiveness. Line 3 will ensure an adequate supply for refiners and enable them to continue to provide the energy Minnesotans need.”

In other words, Enbridge’s statement all but officially accuses the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department of telling whoppers. This graphic speaks volumes:

“Denial of the Line 3 replacement program does not change the supply of crude oil in Canada or anywhere else … or demand for crude oil in the Minnesota or in the U.S.,” said Neil Earnest, president of energy market consultants Muse, Stancil & Co. “What it does do is shift it off pipelines and onto rail.'” The demand for Canadian crude oil is there, officials reasoned, and supply is only growing.

The indisputable truth is that demand for oil won’t decrease anytime soon. Whenever environmental activists predict something, it’s best to figure that it’s wildly inaccurate. The first time I heard an environmental activist predict something was about the Alaskan Pipeline in the mid-1970s. The president of the Sierra Club argued against its construction, saying that it would disrupt “the migration pattern of the Barrows Caribou. And for what? Maybe 4-5 years worth of oil?” That pipeline opened in the late 1970s. It’s still transporting oil 40 years later.

Enbridge is right to fight the Dayton administration’s environmental activists because their predictions are frequently wrong.

This LTE might be the most informative LTE written on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline I’ve seen.

It’s the first place I’ve read that “Some opponents of the project are concerned that pipelines pose a risk to the waters of Minnesota due to a leak. Any method of transporting crude oil (pipeline, rail, or truck) has a risk of a leak or spill. To transport the equivalent amount of crude oil on Line 3 will require either 10,000 rail cars/day or 24,000 tanker trucks/day.”

The Gov. Dayton/Commissioner Rothman Commerce Department testified that the existing pipeline should be shut down in addition to not building the new pipeline. Obviously, the pipeline will get built. The only question is whether it’ll get built in Minnesota or through another state. Metaphorically speaking, that ship’s already sailed. The question facing environmental activists is whether they want oil trains endangering cities multiple times a day or whether they want semis clogging highways.

What other LTE or Our View editorial has laid things out this succinctly? I’ll tell you how many. Since getting back into blogging last May, I’ve searched virtually daily for articles on this subject. The answer is exactly 0. Here’s another interesting, important, piece of information in making this decision:

The project will be constructed with modern high-grade steel pipe and use construction techniques that minimize the impact to the environment. In environmentally sensitive areas, Enbridge utilizes Horizontal Directional Drilling, which places the pipe deep below the environmentally sensitive area and utilizes double thickness pipe-wall.

TRANSLATION: It’s the safest way of getting oil from Alberta to Superior, WI. Enbridge wouldn’t have gotten a permit for the first pipeline if it hadn’t met Minnesota’s strict environmental standards.

Think of it this way. If Enbridge hadn’t done things right the past 20+ years, the Public Utilities Commission would’ve shit-canned this project in a heartbeat. This graphic shows how many hoops Enbridge, or any pipeline project, would have to jump through for permitting approval:

Think of each of those dots as another delay that environmental activists exploit. The simplest question to ask is whether Minnesota wants a petroleum-free state that relies heavily on transit? I’m betting that transit is totally impractical for most of Minnesota, especially in rural Minnesota. BTW, did you know that “Enbridge provides over 80 percent of the crude oil to the two refineries in Minnesota and one in Superior Wisconsin”? Did you know that “these refineries provide fuel for the agricultural, forest products, shipping, and mining industries, not to mention the majority of the fuel used for transportation in the state of Minnesota”?

Frankly, the testimony given by the Commerce Department to the Public Utilities Commission is dishonest. Whoever prepared the Commerce Department’s testimony should be prosecuted for perjury. Saying that the Line 3 Pipeline isn’t needed is like saying that highways aren’t needed to get people and products from one part of Minnesota to another part of Minnesota.

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There’s a fight happening in the Mountain West that people in the Midwest aren’t that aware of. Midwesterners heard about it from time-to-time when President Obama or President Clinton put federal land off-limits to mining with the stroke of a pen and the Antiquities Act of 1906. According to this report, the Antiquities Act of 1906 passed to “protect prehistoric Native American antiquities.”

As time passed, progressive presidents like Clinton and Obama started using the Antiquities Act to limit the use of federal lands. When President Obama created Bears Ears National Monument in 2017, he took “1.35 million acres” off-limits for mining. That’s half the size of Yellowstone National Park. When President Clinton created Grand Staircase-Escalante in 1996, he put 1.9 million acres off-limits. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is bigger than Glacier National Park.

Wilderness-hungry environmental activists (like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, aka BHA) are already running ads to essentially threaten lawsuits if the Interior Department follows through with reducing the size of these national monuments:

From the reaction of many environmental groups to Secretary Zinke’s review, you would think antiquities will go unprotected. For example, a $1.4 million advertising campaign says “Mr. Secretary, don’t turn your back on Roosevelt now.” According to Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA), the organization sponsoring the ad campaign, “Our national monuments have stood the test of time, and the present review could trigger a game of political football, leaving some of our most cherished landscapes in limbo.”

In Western states like Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho, $1.4 million is a monstrous ad campaign. Make no mistake about this. BHA’s goal isn’t to limit land usage. BHA’s goal is to prohibit land usage it doesn’t agree with.

Bears Ears could be reduced to 160,000 acres.

That’s still a ton of land. The beauty of the land would still be maintained:

It would still be breathtaking:

BHA’s vision is to “create de facto wilderness areas where backpackers displace loggers, ranchers, and miners. They do this in the name of protecting public lands, suggesting that throngs of Patagonia-clad hikers, who demand new trails, climb rock walls with holes drilled in the rock for protection, and leave dozens of fire rings around popular lakes, do no damage.”

Secretary Zinke isn’t focusing on the lawsuits that will inevitably get filed:

At issue in Zinke’s review is the phrase in the act limiting designations to “the smallest area compatible” with “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.”

I don’t doubt that these land-hungry environmental activists will find judges sympathetic to their causes. I’m equally certain those sympathetic judges will get slapped down in the appellate courts.

Citing research into sage grouse habitat, the Bureau of Land Management “canceled its Sagebrush Focal Area withdrawal application and the Department’s proposed withdrawal of 10 million acres of federal lands from location and entry under the mining law in Greater Sage-grouse habitat in six Western States.”

Acting BLM Director Mike Nedd said “The proposal to withdraw 10 million acres to prevent 10,000 from potential mineral development was a complete overreach. Secretary Zinke has said from the beginning that by working closely with the states, who are on the front lines and a valued partner in protecting the health of these lands, we can be successful in conserving greater sage grouse habitat without stifling economic development and job growth. And that’s what we intend to do—protect important habitat while also being a good neighbor to states and local communities.”

According to the BLM’s statement, “The BLM determined the proposal to withdraw 10 million acres was unreasonable in light of the data that showed that mining affected less than .1 percent of sage-grouse-occupied range.” The statement included this paragraph:

The recommendation to withdraw nearly 10 million acres from location and entry under the mining law was one of many land use restrictions proposed for a new management area designated as the Sagebrush Focal Area (SFA). However, that recommendation was unreasonable in light of the data available. In particular, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2005 “Not Warranted” decision, the 2010 “Warranted But Precluded” Decision and the 2015 “Not Warranted” decision all showed that mining—including locatable mining—was not a significant threat to sage-grouse.

The lands will continue to be managed in accordance with existing plans, programs, policies and regulations in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. They had been temporarily segregated, or closed to new mining claims for 2 years when the Department originally proposed the lands for withdrawal in 2015, while the agency studied whether locatable mineral exploration and mining projects would adversely affect habitat important to the greater sage grouse. That temporary segregation period expired September 24, 2017.

During the Obama administration, the Bureau of Land Management antagonized mining companies during its war on fossil fuels.

This article explains the BLM’s original intent:

The Bureau of Land Management, part of the Department of the Interior, was established in 1946 to administer grazing and mineral rights when the U.S. Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office. Today it manages 246 million acres of land, mostly in the Western U.S., ranging from lush Northwestern forests to arid, oil-rich sage grouse habitat. The BLM leases federal public lands for mineral mining, oil and gas extraction, grazing, timber production and solar and wind energy development. In 2016, the agency had a budget of $1.2 billion and about 11,000 employees, including 200 rangers and 70 special agents who enforce federal laws on public lands, plus about 25,000 volunteers.

The Trump administration has taken a different approach:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any federal agency. This land is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield.

The Obama administration’s days of mismanagement of federal lands are over. Thanks to the Trump administration’s approach, the United States has become a net exporter of fossil fuels. That approach has also super-charged that portion of the economy.

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Anyone thinking that this isn’t proof that politics doesn’t make for strange bedfellows doesn’t have much of an imagination. Tom Steward reports that “The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council joined forces to make the case for the vital Enbridge infrastructure and thousands of well-paying jobs to build it.” Steward quotes this Minneapolis Star-Tribune op-ed, written by Harry Melander and Bill Blazar.

Steward quotes Melander and Blazar as saying “But in Minnesota we’re fortunate to have a well-advanced alternative, an entirely private infrastructure project that would put 6,500 Minnesotans to work over two years, with an economic impact of more than $2 billion for the state, including outstate areas that sorely need it. We’re talking about Enbridge Energy’s 1,097-mile, Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement from Alberta stretching southeast across central Minnesota from the North Dakota border near Hallock to a terminal in Superior, Wis.”

Later in their op-ed, Melander and Blazar write “Contrary to recent testimony from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the project is necessary and prudent. Last month, the American Petroleum Institute reported that total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of U.S. petroleum demand, showed the highest July demand since 2007. Enbridge says its project is the safest alternative for replacing the 50-year-old existing line that operates at approximately 50 percent capacity and faces increasing maintenance requirements.”

This isn’t a fight the DFL wants to fight. Even if they win, they’ll lose, meaning the DFL loses more rural voters in 2018 to the GOP. That virtually guarantees Republicans maintaining or increasing their majority in the House in 2018. It puts pressure on the DFL to pick a moderate for their gubernatorial candidate that their base won’t be excited about, too. If they pick a Metrocrat (think Paul Thissen or Erin Murphy), they’ll lose the governor’s mansion, too.

Bit by bit, the DFL is losing unions and farmers, the F and L in DFL, because the DFL consistently sides with environmental activists. If that continues, Minnesota’s chances of becoming a red state get better.

The environmentalists’ newest dog-and-pony show, aka the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Project, hearings start this week. It’s guaranteed that environmental activists will turn out in big numbers, thanks to the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department’s gift.

When the Commerce Department provided testimony to the Public Utilities Commission, they said that “the project isn’t needed and won’t benefit Minnesota.” I question the validity of that testimony since it closely resembles the statements made by Steve Morse, the executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, about the Pipeline project. That’s basis enough to question whether the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department is essentially being run by special interest organizations opposed ideologically, not scientifically, to the project.

In their testimony, the Dayton-Rothman Commerce Department states that refineries are running near capacity, which, in their opinion, is proof that another pipeline isn’t needed. Why doesn’t the Commerce Department and the Minnesota Environmental Partnership think that that’s proof that we need to increase refining capacity, not reduce pipeline capacity?

The testimony is short-sighted in another way. Does anyone think that this oil won’t get shipped via a different pipeline if this pipeline project is rejected? If the PUC rejects this pipeline project, will the oil company simply shut down their operations in Alberta? Or will they simply start working with a different state to build a different pipeline? I’d submit that the latter scenario is most likely.

If that’s the case, why would the DFL shortchange construction unions and Minnesota’s small towns in northern Minnesota? Should this man essentially have a 1-man veto over infrastructure projects?

The DFL frequently accuses Republicans of ignoring science. Isn’t that what the DFL is doing in opposing this project? After all, Republicans aren’t foolish enough that fossil fuel usage has leveled off and will start declining. That’s what Gov. Dayton’s Commerce Department and the MEP argue. The chances of that happening are remote. The chances of the MEP’s predictions being accurate are even more unlikely.