Daily Digest: Line 3 hearings continue

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Enbridge offers new concessions on Line 3. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will hold a second day of hearings Tuesday as it moves closer toward a decision on whether — and how — to allow Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project to go forward. The commission faces a decision next week that could reverberate across the country and the world, as companies invested in oil face off with environmentalists and Native American tribes who see oil pipelines as a threat to efforts to curb the burning of fossil fuels linked to climate change.Representatives for Enbridge addressed the commission first, adding new commitments in an effort to get a Certificate of Need from the state. Enbridge said it would buy renewable energy credits to offset energy use after a new Line 3 is in service. In addition, Enbridge offered to work with those concerned about the old Line 3 to set up a trust fund to decommission all old pipelines in Minnesota. (MPR News)

2.  Trump to talk trade, mining in Duluth. President Donald Trump has added a roundtable meeting to his schedule when he visits Duluth this week. The White House had already announced Trump will hold a political rally at the AMSOIL Arena on Wednesday evening. A White House official said Monday that the roundtable meeting is an official event, not a political one. Trump will sit down with mining industry workers, the president of the Duluth port authority and two St. Louis County commissioners, Pete Stauber and board chair Keith Nelson. Minnesota Republican U.S. House Reps. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis are also scheduled to be there, but that could change depending on votes Wednesday in Washington. The roundtable is designed to highlight a rebounding iron ore industry and the spillover effects of aggressive trade measures by Trump. The president recently slapped tariffs on some imported steel to protect domestic producers, but other countries have retaliated with tariffs on other U.S. goods like farm products. (MPR News)

3. Minneapolis council members want probe of ketamine reports. A group of Minneapolis City Council members are calling for a thorough and timely investigation of cases in which police officers urged paramedics to sedate members of the public with ketamine during difficult calls. At a council committee meeting Monday, Council Member Phillipe Cunningham called the incidents “appalling” and ordered police oversight staff in the city to complete a still unfinished probe into these cases by late July, and for an independent review of the report itself. “I think we have to remember as elected officials that we defend the people of this city — not the city itself,” Council Member Jeremy Schroeder said. “And when these things are happening, we need to take action quickly.” (Star Tribune)

4. St. Paul considers limiting number of tobacco sellers. The St. Paul City Council will vote on whether to limit the number of licensed tobacco retailers in the city to existing levels. The city of St. Paul licenses roughly 240 to 260 tobacco sellers. Under the proposal, tobacco stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, grocers and other retailers would have to wait until an existing license-holder goes out of business, leaves the city or voluntarily gives up its license in order to begin sales. The seven-member council will hold a public hearing Wednesday, and a final decision could come in early July. The effort is the latest by the city council to crack down on tobacco sales amid widespread criticism that the industry targets youth and low-income communities of color with fruit flavors, product giveaways, billboard placement and tailored advertising. In January 2016, the city council voted 7-0 to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to adults-only tobacco shops, which are open to customers age 18 and over. (Pioneer Press)

5. Supreme Court dodges big issues in gerrymandering cases. The U.S. Supreme Court essentially punted on extreme partisan gerrymandering Monday, declining to address the central questions at the heart of whether the practice is constitutional. The court took up two cases, one out of Wisconsin and one out of Maryland, with lines drawn by both parties. It declared that the plaintiffs in Wisconsin don’t have standing to sue, because they didn’t try to prove that their vote had been diluted in their own district. In Maryland, the court declined to engage on the merits of the case. The lower court, it said, was right in leaving the current system in place. In many ways, this is a win for those who wish to leave partisan gerrymandering in place, because this decision likely makes it harder for groups opposed to the practice to bring such a case in the future. (NPR)

Comments are closed.