ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz has named mediator Valerie Means to an open seat on the state Public Utilities Commission, an independent body that regulates utilities and pipelines across Minnesota.
Means will be the first person of color to serve on the commission in 30 years. The attorney formerly represented utilities and telecommunications companies in proceedings before the PUC.
The governor Friday also promoted commissioner and former state senator Katie Sieben to be the new chair of the PUC.
The Public Utilities Commission gained visibility in recent years as it considered and ultimately approved Enbridge Energy’s controversial plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
Winona LaDuke, a leader of the fight by tribal and environmental groups against the project, had also applied for the open seat.