In late April, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign held a virtual event with Minnesota supporters to promote the Democrat’s plans to address climate change and a clean environment.
But while U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and other Biden surrogates talked about carbon-free energy, clean water, agriculture and electric cars, they did not touch on perhaps the two most controversial environmental issues in the state: copper-nickel mining in Northern Minnesota and the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline.
Many of the major Democratic candidates in the presidential race said they would oppose the Line 3 project, the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely, or both if elected in the fall of 2020. Those stances heartened the environmentalist wing of the party and roiled trade unions and rural DFLers.
But as the nominating contest draws to a close, one of the few candidates to skip talking about the industrial projects is now the presumptive nominee, and the question remains: How would a Biden administration handle Twin Metals or Line 3?
A tale of two projects
Sen. Bernie Sanders was the first presidential hopeful to wade into local debate over Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. A month before launching his campaign in January of 2019, Sanders filmed a video with the advocacy group Honor the Earth to denounce the project.