A member of Governor Tim Walz’s cabinet faced some tough questioning on Friday for approving an appeal over the Line 3 pipeline project in a dispute that could lead to his ouster. Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley faced heat for appealing the Public Utilities Commission’s approval of Enbridge Energy’s plan to replace the aging Line 3 pipeline across northern Minnesota. At the hearing, Kelley defended his decision by saying he has an obligation to ensure that state statutes are followed.

Commerce Committee Chair Gary Dahms of District 16 said the panels that held the hearing would likely have forwarded his nomination without recommendation if the legislature had been in session. That is usually considered to be a bad sign.