Daily Digest: Line 3 timeline grows more uncertain

Happy Wednesday. Time to catch up on your politics news, so here’s your Digest.

1. State says more delays likely for Line 3. Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline replacement likely could see more delays, after two state agencies involved in the project said Tuesday that the permitting schedule for the pipeline needs to be revised. Just how long those delays could last remains unclear. But in a joint statement from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, officials said that a recent state Court of Appeals ruling that the pipeline’s environmental review was inadequate will have implications for their permitting process. “Both the Minnesota DNR and the PCA have come to a conclusion that the current process is going to slow down a little bit,” said MPCA spokesperson Darin Broton. “And while both agencies can continue to move forward with doing some technical work on its permits, there are a few pieces that we have to take a pause on.” (MPR News)

2. Klobuchar’s presidential to-do list. Were she to become president, Sen. Amy Klobuchar in her first 100 days in the White House would use executive authority to undo much of what President Donald Trump has accomplished. Klobuchar’s campaign for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday released a hefty list of plans she’d undertake in the opening months of her potential presidency. From rejoining the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, to immediately suspending all legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, to ending family separations at the U.S. border and the travel ban on certain Muslim countries, to allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, Klobuchar’s 18-page plan reads in many parts like a direct repudiation of the current Republican president. Though the list includes the introduction of some major legislative proposals, most of its contents could be undertaken without congressional approval. (Star Tribune)

3. Walz decries DFLer’s “murder boat” tweet. Gov. Tim Walz says he was “totally appalled” by a state DFL party official’s recent remark on Twitter about the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul. William Davis, the party’s deputy communications director, has been facing criticism on social media and elsewhere for calling the newly christened Navy ship a “murder boat.” He has since deleted the tweet. Walz, a DFLer who served in the military, told reporters Tuesday that the comment is not acceptable. He said it deserves a full apology and action by the party. “Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale,” Walz said. “I don’t know who the communication person is. I would certainly hope over at the DFL they take appropriate response to this because there’s no place for that.” (MPR News)

4. Keeping expectations low for the Flanagan administration. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan has been getting some extra attention this week — and will get extra power, too. “So I have some requests for Thursday,” Sen. Karla Bigham, DFL-Cottage Grove, said to Flanagan after a ceremonial bill signing event Tuesday. “Stop it. No,” a smiling Flanagan said after a few more playful exchanges about her impending takeover. She’s also gotten a bunch of text messages from friends and fellow lawmakers telling her to use the power responsibly. Flanagan will take the state’s helm for about two hours Thursday while Gov. Tim Walz is sedated for surgery. Flanagan doesn’t plan to make use of his desk or take any official actions. (MPR News)

5. Aid outlook brightens for greater Minnesota. Last winter, as the 2019 legislative session approached, advocates for Minnesota cities and counties, especially those in rural areas, hoped for an increase in the amount of financial aid local governments receive from the state to help them cover their budgets. While cities and counties already receive millions of dollars in state aid every year, they had been looking for more for years, arguing that the amounts they were getting had not kept up with inflation or with the rising cost of public services. This year, they had a crucial advocate in their corner: Gov. Tim Walz, the rural Democrat who won last fall’s election after running on a “One Minnesota” campaign theme that included promises to restore funding for the two aid programs dear to cities and counties: Local Government Aid (LGA) and County Program Aid (CPA). Emboldened by Walz’s win, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, in a preview of the 2019 legislative session, put an increase of LGA funding at the very top of its priority list. The Association of Minnesota Counties included a CPA hike on its wish list, too. They got what they’d long wanted as lawmakers and Walz agreed to provide each program with more money over the next biennium than they have received in years. (MinnPost)

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