By Andy Pearson
Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator

During spring and summer 2020, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be reviewing an application for an important water quality permit that the Enbridge pipeline company needs to build the Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline. The MPCA is a state agency responsible for protecting clean air and water in Minnesota. It will be holding public meetings, accepting comments, and ultimately making a decision on whether or not it’s safe for Line 3 to cross Minnesota’s waters.

Learn more about Pipeline 3 and join our Pipeline Resistance Team.

We need to let MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop know that people everywhere in the state care deeply about clean water in Minnesota, and show her why it’s so important that the MPCA takes this process seriously. We know that the staff and leadership at the MPCA cares about water tooso we want to make sure that they hold Enbridge accountable, and run a process that protects the clean water we all love and depend on.

Call for Letters

To: Commissioner Laura Bishop, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (see her official bio here)

From:  [you along with family, friends, colleagues you recruit as co-signers]

What: Letters – handwritten or typed – explaining why clean water and a safe and stable climate in Minnesota are important to you, and expressing your hope that the MPCA will protect these things and the people of Minnesota by denying the water permits for Line 3.

Mail your letter to:

Commissioner Laura Bishop
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Can you write and mail a letter to Commissioner Bishop this week?  A page or even a few sentences is fine — the important thing is for her to hear directly from you. She needs to know that people all around Minnesota care, that we believe she can do the right thing by taking a honest, critical look at how Line 3 will affect Minnesota’s water and climate–and that we’re asking her to.

What are some things to put in a letter to Commissioner Bishop?

  • An introduction – who are you, what is your personal story, why do you care about clean water and clean air in Minnesota?
  • Explain that the MPCA plays a very important role in protecting the things that you care about, and that people, like you, are watching what the agency does.
  • Explain that Enbridge’s Line 3 is a project that threatens the things that you care about and that the MPCA is responsible for protecting.
  • It’s really important that the MPCA takes this process seriously, listens carefully to the science, and holds Enbridge to a high standard. When the science shows the permits should be denied, the agency should act on that information.

Here is more info from MN350 on why building Line 3 is wrong for Minnesota and the climate, and how MN350 is working to stop it. 


There are 29 remaining federal, state, and local permits that Enbridge still needs before it can build Line 3. Some of those permits are very easy to get and have little or no public process attached to them. But some of the twenty-nine permits are big. They are going to require months of analysis and consultation. They will include opportunities for public input. And there is a chance that some of them could even be denied — which would help us stop Line 3.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will decide on one of these “big” permits – the 401 Water Quality Certification. The MPCA uses the 401 certification process to uphold state water quality standards. Line 3 is a big threat to water quality, so this is one to take seriously. The MPCA will decide whether or not to issue the permit by August 15, 2020.

Commissioner Bishop will be overseeing this process, and she’ll have important choices to make about the level of public engagement and the standards that are applied to Enbridge’s application. Commissioner Bishop is new to this role — she previously worked for Best Buy since 2003 — so she doesn’t have much, if any, experience with pipelines, and she probably doesn’t know much about this movement yet.  

Now is the time to introduce ourselves, and to show Commissioner Bishop and the PCA that Minnesotans all around the state are watching and that we care about clean water and our climate.  The sooner and more frequently we get our message out to the MPCA, the more likely it will have an impact.  Please send your letter today.

Join our MN350 Pipeline Resistance Team and be part of a grassroots movement of Minnesotans all around the state in protecting our air and water for us, and for the generations to come.


Andy Pearson is the Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator with MN350 and MN350 Action. He spends most of his time fighting Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline and working with the Pipeline Resistance Team and coalition partners. Based in South Minneapolis. Loves cooking breakfast.