Farmfest went virtual with its political candidate forums this week when the major candidates for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District gathered online to take questions on a number of issues. We’ll be spotlighting a few of those questions leading up to the August 11 primary.

Candidates were asked a question about Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline and how to streamline regulations to get projects like that permitted in a faster fashion. Current U.S. Representative Collin Peterson said the main problem lies with state and utility regulators.

“I’ve been a supporter of Line 3 from the very start,” said Peterson. “And in Washington, we have passed bills that do streamline the citing process for pipelines, because we need to get the oil out of the tank cars and into the pipelines. It’s the safest way to move oil, it’s the cheapest way, and it makes the most sense.”

Peterson said a change in state law is what’s needed.

His leading Republican rival, Michelle Fischbach, said there are repercussions from Line 3 for ag transportation in the state.

“The pipeline is absolutely necessary. I’m a supporter of Line 3 and it has been inexcusably delayed with the PCA and lawsuits and all kinds of things like that,” said Fischbach. “And we’ve got to make sure that that replacement is made because it’s important to keep the pressure off freight lines. Those are vital to the agricultural transportation.”

Fischbach said the broader energy picture needs to be looked at, as well.

Also part of the online forum were Republican contenders for the 7th District seat Dave Hughes and Dr. Noel Collis. The complete forum can be found on the Minnesota Farmfest website.

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