St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Ag/Energy Alliance today called on Governor Mark Dayton to provide for an independent investigation of all matters related to the emails sent by a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) employee involved in the state environmental review of the Sandpiper Pipeline to a group of environmental activists who oppose the project.

“We are pleased Governor Dayton agrees this is a serious matter, but the internal evaluation he has proposed is not sufficient to clear the air about whether the Sandpiper project is being fairly and impartially vetted,” said Lance Klatt, a member of the Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance. Klatt is also the Executive Director of the Minnesota Service Station and Convenience Store Association.

Last week, two emails written by an MPCA staffer came to light that called into question the evenhandedness of the agency’s environmental review of the Sandpiper Pipeline project. The MPCA is the state agency that is studying the environmental impact of the proposed Sandpiper Pipeline.

“The members of the Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance call on Governor Dayton to provide for a thorough, independent investigation of this matter and all related issues conducted by either an outside auditor or an impartial outside counsel,” said Minnesota Ag/Energy Alliance member Bob Zelenka, who is also Executive Director of the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association.

In its letter to Governor Dayton, released today, the Alliance said an internal review would have no credibility with the public or the Sandpiper project’s stakeholders, and it would be “ludicrous” to expect the agency’s investigation of itself would lend any confidence the matter had been fairly evaluated. Only an independent auditor can lend the kind of transparency and impartiality that is required in this circumstance.

Cameron Prudhomme