A view fron North Dakota: Minnesota delays critical pipeline
Up until about a week ago, the North Dakota business community praised the anti- business policy decisions made by Minnesota. The Minnesota climate has been pushing economic development across the border into states like ours. Thank you, Minnesot...
Up until about a week ago, the North Dakota business community praised the anti-
business policy decisions made by Minnesota. The Minnesota climate has been pushing economic development across the border into states like ours. Thank you, Minnesota. This not only has contributed to our economic successes, it also has highlighted the fact that our state’s policymakers are smart, strategic and progressive when it comes to the long-term success of our state.
But this is the last of our thank-yous.
At the recommendation of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s Pollution Control Agency, the state Public Utilities Commission took unprecedented action, on a split vote, that significantly will delay the permitting of a critical pipeline, the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline.
It’s worth noting that North Dakota’s Public Service Commission quickly and efficiently permitted the portion of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline between North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields and northern Minnesota - again showing our savvy in business policy in comparison to Minnesota, given the economic importance of the project.
This pipeline will help meet the region’s critical and changing energy demands. Sandpiper will serve as a long-term link, transporting supply from the Bakken region in North Dakota to market, helping to increase our nation’s energy security.
The shifting supply-and-demand patterns in North America are driving the development of Sandpiper. Our economy has benefitted from bringing Bakken oil production to market, continuing to bolster North Dakota, Minnesota and the country’s economic growth.
Let’s count the ways Sandpiper will bring significant economic benefits to the states:
One: hundreds of valuable construction jobs.
Two: millions of dollars in revenue for local retailers; restaurants; and material, equipment and hospitality businesses.
And three: increased property tax revenue in each county crossed by the project.
By 2016, Enbridge will have invested in Bakken projects about $3.7 billion, creating more than 3,000 good-paying construction jobs and stimulating economic activity along the project route. You’re welcome.
Now, while Dayton’s regulatory agencies make up rules to delay processes in the very thing on which his re-election campaign stood - streamlining permitting processes - let’s count the ways North Dakota and Minnesota will suffer:
One, refineries will be forced to rely on higher-priced crude and transportation alternatives (such as truck or rail).
Two, residents and consumers will see price increases, rail congestion and strain on roads and highways.
And three, the delays in permitting for pipelines such as Sandpiper will cost Minnesota farmers and already has cost them more than $100 million because of rail delays at elevators.
Under normal circumstances, I’d send a thank-you note to our neighbors. The North Dakota entrepreneurial class flourishes, and we see the spin-off benefits of our responsible policy.
But in this case, it’s a no-thank-you note. We set “North Dakota Nice” aside when irresponsible policy affects us, our energy industry and our farmers.
Minnesotans and North Dakotans alike should join us in calling on Dayton and Minnesota policymakers to reconsider delays in permitting Sandpiper and, in the process, holding them accountable to their claims. The three committee members voting to stall the permit process were the three Dayton members, despite his claims to streamline such processes.
Help us join together to move oil, enhance regional and national energy independence and keep people working on both sides of the border.
Let’s do this so I can get back to my thank-you notes and add Minnesota back to the recipient list.
Andy Peterson is president and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and formerly was policy director for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.