Daily Digest: Pipeline hearings draw intense interest

Good morning and welcome to Friday. Glad we made it. Let’s check the Digest.

1. Minnesotans clad in neon-green T-shirts or waving blue handkerchiefs filled a St. Paul hotel conference room Thursday to sound off on a controversial oil pipeline proposal. This week, state regulators kicked off a round of 18 public hearings around the state on whether to allow Enbridge Energy to construct a new oil pipeline to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline. Debate over the pipeline is pitting climate and environmental concerns as well as Native treaty rights issues against energy needs and potential economic benefits from construction jobs and the $7 billion Enbridge would invest in Line 3. (MPR News)

2. Local governments and developers in Minnesota have submitted more than a dozen possible sites for Amazon’s proposed second headquarters. The team of Greater MSP, the public-private regional promotion group, and the state Department of Employment and Economic Development is expected to inform city and county officials as soon as today about next steps in the process — and perhaps details on how it will make choices. The organization and agency have said little about the process. “We received a number of great sites and are confident we can put together a strong response,” said Mike Brown, Greater MSP’s marketing chief. The state’s proposal “can have multiple sites in it and we expect that it will,” he added. (Star Tribune)

3. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday demanded more answers about the budget dispute between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature. The court ordered the Legislature and the governor to tell justices about all the accounts the House and Senate could tap, should the high court uphold Dayton’s veto of the legislative budgets. “To be clear, the court requires specific statements that identify all funds the Legislature may use,” said the Thursday order, signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. The word “all” in her order was in italics. Dayton last week stormed out of court-ordered mediation after he said he discovered the House and Senate have an extra $3.6 million it could tap. Further, Dayton’s attorney told the court this week, that the Legislature could potentially use $35 million from another funding source. (Pioneer Press)

4. LeafLine Labs said its chief medical officer and chief financial officer have left the company, effective Thursday, the company’s CEO said in a statement. The company is one of two licensed medical marijuana producers in Minnesota. Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Gary Starr and Chief Financial Officer Colin Kelley departed “due to both personal and professional reasons,” said Andrew Bachman, LeafLine Labs’ CEO, who also founded the company. In a brief statement, Bachman said, they “deeply value the contributions” of both executives. Bachman added “our focus remains on caring for our patients, and the future of Minnesota’s truly medicinal program.” (MPR News)

5. The Native American official who has been the face and voice of the fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline has been voted out of office. Unofficial results from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s general election Wednesday showed that Dave Archambault received only 37 percent of about 1,700 votes cast. His opponent, longtime tribal councilman and wildlife official Mike Faith, received 63 percent, according to the totals released Thursday. Archambault conceded defeat in a statement. “I will continue to advocate for the issues facing our community and look forward to exploring new opportunities,” he said. “I wish the new administration the best and look forward to a smooth transition, ensuring that we do not lose the powerful momentum we have at Standing Rock.” (AP via MPR News)

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