September 11, 2020

MN350 response to Senate vote to fire Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley

MN350 condemns the state Senate’s decision today to fire Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley as a corrupt attempt by Big Oil to hijack governmental process to protect its interests.

“Minnesota for decades has tried to serve as an example of how good government should work” said MN350 organizer Andy Pearson. “To fire Commissioner Kelley in part because his department filed a legal appeal against Line 3 is unacceptable. Minnesotans expect decisions about protecting our climate to follow the law, the process and the science. That’s precisely what Kelley and his department did in refiling the Line 3 appeal. But in this case, sadly, the influence of Big Oil topped the interests of Minnesotans.”

In criticizing Commissioner Kelley and his department, pipeline backers have repeatedly claimed, “The pipeline should have been built by now.” However, Kelley’s firing in no way expedites resolution. “Enbridge Energy shouldn’t get a participation prize just because it’s been trying for a long time to get its way,” Pearson said. “The pipeline is under review, and most of that review has shown it’s a bad idea. And now simply following the law has cost a devoted public servant his job.

“The senators who voted today to deny confirmation to Commissioner Kelley have sided with fossil fuel companies over the interests of Minnesotans, plain and simple. At a time when the West Coast is on fire, and haunting images of skies turned red by smoke are all over the news, they are more interested in defending the world’s dirtiest oil than listening to science, on climate change or the pandemic. We don’t have patience for this kind of politics. The world doesn’t have the time for it.”



MN350 is a statewide group with 20,000 supporters working to make Minnesota a national leader in a just transition to a clean energy economy. MN350 Action is its political and advocacy arm.