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Pipe line a done deal?

Here are some questions I sent to the PUC and the answers or my take on them.

1. Is this meeting window dressing or can our concerns change what seems inevitable?

The entrenched bureaucracy is paid, the pipeline employees are paid but the concerned citizen must spend time and often money to investigate, attend meetings and have his or her say. It feels like a done deal.

I asked these questions, which are the crux of my concerns, and got the following answer or lack of below:

2. Are there significant funds set aside by the pipeline company that will deal with disasters such as massive spills regardless of the financial health of the pipeline company at the time of the disaster?

3. When there is no more oil running in the pipeline in the next decade or so, who is going to maintain the pipeline? Is there a fund for that?

4. If the company fails, who is responsible for spills, cleaning and maintenance?

5. No matter the safety record, accidents, both technical and human error, happen. What could the damage be of a massive spill or explosion?

From the PUC, their answer for 2-3-4-5: Pipeline safety issues are handled by the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety: and the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

Minnesota’s pipeline permitting process requires the pipeline company to follow the safety regulations under these authorities.

6. If, or rather when, there is a life-killing spill, will any of the PUC members who authorized this pipeline be held not only accountable but liable?

For No. 8, no answer at all. Questions of liability are answered by the courts.

John Weber,


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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