The Honorable Mark Dayton
Governor of the State of Minnesota
Office of the Governor
116 Veterans Service Building
20 West 12th Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155
Dear Governor Dayton:
As members of the Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance and leaders of two large trade associations in the state, we are tremendously concerned about the impropriety being perpetrated against the Sandpiper Pipeline project by at least one state employee of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). These seemingly biased emails to groups opposing Sandpiper raise serious doubts about the impartiality of the state’s regulatory review. This particular example, combined with the department’s direct involvement in the environmental review and permitting of Sandpiper calls into question the MPCA’s ability to remain an objective evaluator of the project and this Administration’s ability to supervise its agencies and maintain reasonable expectations for professional responsibility. It is vitally important to clear the air about whether the Sandpiper and Line 3 Replacement projects are being fairly and impartially vetted.
We are pleased that you agree that this is a serious matter that requires a thorough investigation to ensure the credibility and integrity of the state’s regulatory process; however, we believe an internal examination of the facts is not sufficient. The Minnesota Ag Energy Alliance urges you to order a thorough, independent, investigation of the matter and all related issues conducted by either an outside auditor or an impartial outside counsel.
An internal review will have no credibility with the public or the Sandpiper project’s many stakeholders. Indeed, it would be ludicrous to believe the agency’s investigating itself would lend any confidence whatsoever that the matter has been fairly evaluated. Only an independent auditor can lend the kind of transparency and impartiality that is required in this circumstance. Indeed, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt on Friday asked the legislative auditor to conduct a separate investigation.
This investigation has significant ramifications for state government beyond this issue. Businesses seeking regulatory approval from the State of Minnesota need to be certain regulatory evaluations by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and other state regulatory bodies are fair and unbiased. Anything less than a full, independent investigation of this matter will send the wrong message to businesses and could have a chilling effect on Minnesota’s economy.
Again, we appreciate your prompt response to this matter and the seriousness of your concerns, and we call on you to provide a thorough, independent investigation that will be beyond reproach, withstanding all scrutiny and retaining the integrity of the governor’s office and Minnesota’s regulatory environment.
Minnesota Grain and Feed Association
Minnesota Service Station and Convenience Store Association