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Mr. Stine & Associates,
I truly hoped to send hand-written letters but I find that the electronic communications offers so much more opportunity to share links to data which I feel are crucial in this issue of deciding whether or not to allow Enbridge, a foreign corporation, to install a new Line 3 pipeline to carry risky Tar Sands through our precious watersheds so they can sell it offshore.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been giving me hope ever since the first DEIS hearing on Line 3 in Rice Lake.  It was there that I met two MPCA folks and I wish I’d kept better notes to tell you their names but I believe Willis Mattison was one contact.  It was made clear to me that the New Line 3 would have to receive permits from the MPCA in order to be approved for build. As we spoke of the dangers of Tar Sands and the importance of the Mississippi River watershed, I got the impression that the MPCA could very well find reason to not approve a pipeline crossing under the Mississippi River or traversing through wetlands, the most dangerous places for a Tar Sands pipeline regardless of what the fossil fuel industry says. This MPCA permitting process has been giving me hope during the 18 months since that June day.
The DEIS meeting was an enlightening experience.  I was horrified with the lack of concern given to Indigenous rights that was presented by the DOC. Jamie MacAlister herself explained to me that Tribal Resources were NOT being given priority consideration in this DEIS. The fact that a people’s way of life – the very people who gave us rights to this land nonetheless – was of no more importance than a Canadian corporation’s desire to make mere money was beyond my comprehension. I was sickened by the thought of all those Tar Sands coming through along a new 220′ wide and hundreds of mile long corridor of destruction through our state. I have since learned of some of the destruction done to the land even before they begin putting pipe into the ground – the trees that are turned into sawdust and ground into the dirt, the beings quietly hibernating whose lives are cut short by these preparations. [Watch the Press Conference video link below to hear Doug Rasch’s eloquent but ominous description of the pipeline construction process, one he watched on his property when the Koch brothers line was constructed.]  But I was inspired to hope that day by the PCA reps in attendance.  I can’t recall now if I wrote thank you notes to them, as I’ve since done with Bill Grant and the DOC more recently.  I am hopeful that you have their names so you can give them a pat on the back for their representation there. I believe they were also present at the DEIS in Park Rapids the next day.
But more importantly I fear for the very viability of our planet that a new Line 3 would threaten.  It is clear if you watch the news in the last 60 days that information on the rapidly (much more rapidly than even predicted) deteriorating planet we inhabit.  From the loss of insect life and annihilation of wildlife to the shifting climate zones and the overwhelming costs of drought, fire, flood, and storms, it is clear we are running out of time to act.  Rather than add NEW fossil fuel infrastructure, we need to be dialing back on the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible.  The IPCC says we have about a decade to save ourselves.
The MPCA has the ability to scientifically show that a new Tar Sands pipeline has no place in Minnesota, especially considering the Next Generation Energy Act and Renewable Energy Standard that was signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007 and is helping drive Minnesota as one of the most progressive in this transition time away from fossil fuels.  This is why I moved from Indiana to Minnesota in 2014 – to live in a place where it seemed progress based on science and morals was happening.  A place where education was important because critical thinking matters.  A place where the environment was not a resource for exploitation but an interconnected part of human life, critical for not only sustenance but also for solace.
I write now to strongly encourage you to DENY the 401 permit needed by Enbridge to continue its assault on the planet.  Together we can stop Line 3 from being built in our fair state and we can help prevent the extraction of Tar Sands which must remain in the ground for planetary viability. The majority of citizens oppose the new Line 3.  We are not paid by Enbridge to support the pipeline like many of those are who shout for Line 3 approval, all wearing their matching green t-shirts.   We are scientists, engineers, parents, educators, and others who are voluntarily giving our time and energy to oppose Line 3.
I am hopeful that your work will include transparency to the public, including a chance for public notification of your findings and a place and time for public feedback on your conclusions. I understand this will bring a possibility for pro-pipeline opinions but I am confident in the science to prove their economic arguments carry no weight when compared to the devastation Tar Sands are already causing for our planet.  I am hopeful that, as scientists, you will give due consideration to the evidence, rather than deferring to Enbridge’s statements which basically request that we trust them without skepticism, even if their data is vague, unproven, and/or untrue.  Please consider giving full transparency to the public on this vital decision.  As many comprehend, economic opportunities mean little if we don’t have a safe place to live.
The timing for consideration is perfect as every day there is a new report either on the prospects for our future, the dangerous results of Climate Change – from the NorthSouthEast and West, the science that says we have a short window of opportunity to mitigate the effects of all the carbon and methane we are putting into the atmosphere and that it will take a global effort, or the growing protests of massive groups and individuals around the world saying it’s time we think about the future we will leave our children.  Minnesota is already changing.  Yes, adults like you and me have less time to eek out a survival on this planet.  But our children’s lives will see much more chaos and change, some of it I’m sure we cannot even yet imagine, if we continue on the path we have been with fossil fuels.
Bill McKibben makes it plain in this 4 minute video, which notes that in less than 15 years – ten now as this video was from 2013 [and this figure was recently confirmed by the IPCC report] we will have used ALL the gigatons of C that will take us past 2 degrees Celsius for the planet’s warming. We must leave the Tar Sands in the ground if we hope to have a planet that is livable for our grandchildren.  And his more recent article explains this situation from a current perspective.
Meanwhile, the current Republican President doesn’t believe in his own administration’s report.  And his administration is cutting the funds needed to continue to understand and address this issue.  When we can’t count on our national government to assure the security of its citizens, we need State agencies to take a stand to protect us and our homeland.
We need scientists, using critical thinking, and being unmotivated by dollars from industry, to assure that we are making the best decisions for our state.  Please do all you can to STOP Line 3 from becoming a reality.  Your recent posting about the We Are Water MN exhibit in Bemidji indicates you understand the importance of protecting water.  I am counting on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to help prevent a disastrous Tar Sands Pipeline and the chemicals it would contain from bringing devastation to our state.  From the perspective of Treaty Rights, the rights of our Youth for a livable planet, and the health and safety of our people, our animals, plants, land, air and water, a new, bigger Line 3 makes no sense.
Thank you for your consideration.
Jami Gaither