So the final round of Public Utilities Commission hearings happen this week.
I’ve spent many hours reading about the pros and cons submitted on this Line 3 Proposal in Minnesota and I must say that I found the recent letter from the Interfaith Leaders to be quite inspiring.
Yes, five hundred fifty-four Faith Leaders. 554!! Their names and information are included on the letter to the PUC and I can provide the full document to anyone interested.
Their main points include the fact that approving Line 3 would continue the “long tradition of taking positions against politically marginalized Indigenous communities” and that Enbridge’s “history of pipeline spills” could bring devastation to wild rice areas. “Even if there were no spills (an implausible outcome), this pipeline would be a massive new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the threat of climate change requires a new direction.” They note: “All signers of this letter wish to join together in stating our clear opposition to Line 3 and ensuring it is never approved. We are ready to open a new chapter in how we treat our environment and and how we relate with our Indigenous neighbors.”
Enbridge too put out a letter recently, which they chose to print as full-page ads in many Minnesota newspapers. They noted their commitment to “protect communities and the environment” and to “bring opportunities and lasting economic benefits”. I’m not sure how they reconcile their commitment to protect communities with their pursuit of a lawsuit that is seeking tens of millions of dollars from Clearwater County alone. And their notorious history of oil spills has done nothing but harm the environment. When it comes to job opportunities, most of the jobs will go, not to Minnesotans, but to outside experts. And the economic benefits will mostly bypass America entirely, instead filling the pockets of Canadian business owners.
The Enbridge letter fails to mention that 1) the Tar Sands products they want to push through Minnesota will almost entirely go to foreign markets, having little effect on gas prices in Clearwater Country, 2) their preferred route will pass through forty-one wild rice watersheds potentially affecting 4000 acres of wild rice, 3) they are actually ignoring Tribal Sovereignty as all five affected Indigenous Nations are opposed to the New Line 3, and 4) their proposed route may affect less populated areas of the state but the people in this area are no less important than those along the I-94 corridor.
Enbridge says they will “work with any landowner who would like us to remove the old line from their property” but has made no strides in a month’s old request from Red Lake Tribal Council to immediately remove their pipelines from Tribal lands. They also fail to mention that they have yet to put in writing to the State of Minnesota how they will guarantee financing to clean up any spills that will occur here when their New Line 3 fails. With the Canadian Tar Sands pipeline in South Dakota failing after only seven years of operation, this is a valid concern, especially since Enbridge’s lawsuit hopes to snatch from our coffers what amounts to over two years’ worth of Clearwater County revenues.
The question should not be, “What is the best way to transport Tar Sands oil through Minnesota?” but “What is the cleanest way to provide Energy for our Future?”