I think it’s useful, when we talk about the debate over energy development, that we draw a distinction between people who desire responsible development of resources like oil and coal and people who for political and ideological reasons don’t want any of that sort of development at all.
The former is a practical and common sense view the majority of us share. The latter is the realm of extremists, in which you can apparently include a man named Scott Lucas who works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He has been caught by the St. Paul Pioneer Press coordinating with anti-oil activists while his department works on approval for the Sandpiper Pipeline:
In 2014, Lucas suggested that a group of activists read an environmental report on the Keystone pipeline, noting, “This…could be a very useful tool for us to use when making our case against Sandpiper in this area of the state.”
In an August email, he asked the same group whether there was “much BS on behalf of Enbridge” during a public meeting regarding the Enbridge-led pipeline project.
The Dayton administration said the emails, which the Pioneer Press shared with Dayton’s office and the MPCA on Tuesday, were cause for an investigation.
The Sandpiper line would run from Tioga, North Dakota, though Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin would take about 225,000 barrels per day of crude oil. It’s an important piece of infrastructure for energy development in North Dakota, something which would make the oil industry here more resilient to lower prices.
Not to mention the fact that shipping all that oil via pipeline is a lot safer than putting it on trains.
But while the pipeline has been approved in North Dakota, the State of Minnesota has been dragging their feet. At least one state lawmaker there sees these emails as proof that Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, has been sandbagging the project.
“This confirms what I and others have been saying for a long time and that is, despite statements to the contrary, the Dayton administration is working against the Sandpiper pipeline,” Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Republican from Farmington, told the Press. “The Dayton administration says they are in favor of it, yet they have been slow-walking it for years. This is a deliberate action from the administration opposing the pipeline.”
It sure looks that way.