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Local View: Line 3 replacement part of responsible energy transportation

Natural resources allow us to transport our goods from point A to point B, fuel our cars, keep our homes warm, and cook the food that keeps our families happy and healthy. Those natural resources include the materials that fabricate steel pipe and the petroleum that flows through it. In Minnesota, we rely on liquid oil pipelines to move energy safely to where it's needed and used to do all of the above.

For decades, pipelines quietly have crossed a variety of environments, moving energy to where it's needed and used. More than 2.5 million miles of gas and petroleum pipelines crisscross the United States, safely crossing thousands of bodies of water to deliver the energy we rely on to fuel our daily lives.

In Minnesota, pipeline networks have been operating safely and responsibly for more than 65 years, ensuring our state is connected to reliable and secure energy sources to meet local and regional demands without compromising the environment, the safety of communities, and the 10,000 lakes for which our great state is known.

Enbridge, an energy transportation company, is seeking Minnesota's approval to replace Line 3, a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline extending from Alberta to Wisconsin that is decades old and is no longer operating at its full capacity.

The safety of the residents and communities located near the pipeline and the health of Minnesota's environment are the top priorities for the company's proposed project. Pipelines are the safest, most efficient, and most reliable way to transport crude oil. Pipeline networks are constructed with high-quality materials and designed to meet a variety of operating conditions. On top of that, they are monitored 24 hours a day by a computerized pipeline control system and trained controllers.

Those who design, construct, and operate these systems hold dear Minnesota's water resources. After all, many of the project's employees and contractors live, work, and recreate along the Line 3 route. Here in the Twin Ports, Enbridge's 550 employees and hundreds of contractors are our neighbors and friends.

As part of the rigorous regulatory process, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released a draft environmental impact statement for the Line 3 Replacement Project last month and opened a public comment period to hear from community members. Join us in supporting this important project and the economic prosperity it will bring to our area. The public comment period, which runs through July 10, is our opportunity to voice our opinions and be heard.

Not only is the Line 3 Replacement Project necessary to help meet the demands of our statewide needs, it has the potential to create approximately 2,100 local Minnesota jobs, according to a recent study by the University of Minnesota Duluth.

We call on the Minnesota Department of Commerce to approve the certificate of need and preferred route applications, and we encourage all Minnesotans to join us in supporting the Line 3 Replacement Project by submitting a comment to the Department of Commerce by July 10.

Help us maintain the high standards of the pipelines that run through our state and support job creation and economic growth in northern Minnesota through safe, responsible energy transportation. Stand up for the future of Minnesota by urging the Department of Commerce to allow the Line 3 Replacement Project to move forward.

Nancy NorrCraig Olsen

Nancy Norr is chairwoman of the grassroots advocacy group Jobs for Minnesotans and is the director of regional development for Minnesota Power. Craig Olson is president of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council.

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