The Minnesota legislature passed bills yesterday to extend unemployment benefits for Iron Range miners, and cut unemployment insurance premiums for many businesses. House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) came clean.
But Daudt criticized Senate Democrats for refusing to include a statement of support for the mining industry, which was included in the earlier House version of the legislation.
“That was what was holding this whole thing up,” he said. “Folks on the Iron Range ought to pay attention to the fact that that was the hang up here.”
(Senate Majority Leader Tom) Bakk (DFL-Cook) said there hasn’t been a clear explanation of what ramifications the mining statement would have and whether it would expose the state to legal risk if new mining ventures aren’t approved by regulators.
Pro-mining forces, in and out of political office, have been trying to use crude, petty strong-arm tactics for quite some time. They won’t stop, especially with Governor Mark Dayton having voiced opposition to the proposed Twin Metals project.
This one is less mitigated good news.
In a defeat for pipeline builder Enbridge Energy, Minnesota utility regulators on Thursday declined to speed up the procedure for reviewing two proposed crude oil pipelines across the state.
Enbridge, the Calgary-based company proposing to build the two lines, had complained that the state’s process would unreasonably delay the projects, which would carry oil from North Dakota and Canadian oil fields.
“This is not a minor event in Minnesota. This is significant,” said Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner John Tuma, who opposed changing the timetable. “We are going to be moving a lot of oil through the state — very dangerous. We want to get it right.”