Would Tim Walz Support Critical Infrastructure Projects Like Line 3?

St. Paul – Today, Jeff Johnson announced that his administration would support pipeline projects like the controversial Line 3 project. He also called out his opponent Tim Walz for opposing the pipeline.

After failing to take a strong position for much of his campaign, Tim Walz spok out in opposition to this line, and his running mate has noted she believes there could be protests along line like there were in North Dakota recently. Can Minnesotans count on them to protect and defend projects like Line 3?

During the last legislative session, the Minnesota state legislature passed a bill that would have provided penalties for those damaging critical infrastructure projects and anyone who trained people to do so. Governor Dayton vetoed the bill and Tim Walz’s running mate Peggy Flanagan also voted against it, leaving many voters to wonder whether Walz and Flanagan would choose to protect our critical infrastructure.

“Tim Walz has been all over the map on pipelines. He was vague on where he stood on Line 3 early in his campaign but came down adamantly opposed to the plan in the end when he was seeking support from his liberal base. Minnesotans deserve to know whether Walz will support the bill to protect our critical infrastructure projects,” said Gina Countryman, Executive Director of MN Action Network – IE PAC.

Flanagan Noted Standing Rock Style Protests Could Happen With Line 3. “There are no good routes,” said Rep. Peggy Flanagan of St. Louis Park, who’s a member of the White Earth band. She was one of 32 DFL representatives and four DFL senators who jointly filed comments critical of the commerce department’s draft EIS. “This sort of tale is as old as time, that native people are disproportionately affected by companies who want to access natural resources,” she said. “What happened at Standing Rock – with people standing up for their rights and camping and protesting – that is a very real possibility here in Minnesota. There are already groups of folks camping along the [proposed Line 3] route.” (Mike Hughlett, “Pipeline Plan Would Harm Indians Most, Review Finds,” Star Tribune, 8/18/17)

When Announcing Peggy Flanagan As His Running Mate, Line 3 Was Suggested As An Area Of Disagreement Between The Two. “Flanagan has been a vocal opponent of efforts of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. to replace an oil pipeline that cuts through northern Minnesota. The proposed Line 3 wouldn’t cross any reservations, but would run though lands on which the Ojibwe have treaty rights. Walz, however, is close to the building trades unions, which are vehement supporters of the $2.9 billion pipeline project. He received more than $58,000 in his last election from the unions. Walz said pipelines are preferable to transporting oil by rail, and that the pipeline should be built, but only if it can be done safely and without disturbing treaty lands.” (J. Patrick Coolican, “DFL Candidate For Governor Picks Peggy Flanagan, State Rep. From Twin Cities, As Running Mate,” Star Tribune, October 5, 2017)

Just A Few Months Later Walz Said He Does Not Support The Enbridge 3 Pipeline Because Of The Impact On The Indigenous Community. WALZ: “As far as Line 3, I was immediately…the impact on the indigenous community is unacceptable, it’s a non-starter.” (Tim Walz, #ONEGovForum, 1/24/18) Minute 28:22 – 28:28