For five years since Enbridge applied for permits to replace its Line 3, there have been reviews, public meetings, environmental impact assessments, cost-benefit analyses, approvals, more reviews, more environmental assessments, more public meetings, and more and more of all of the previously mentioned. After five years, Enbridge has stepped up and done everything asked of it and more. The $2.6 billion project is privately funded without tax dollars. Thousands of jobs and millions toward local northern-Minnesota communities are at stake.
It is difficult to add to what five years of comments have not already said.
Each step of the process has been met with opposition, much of it based on emotional arguments that do not address solving problems. Each step of the process finally filters down to the common-sense solution of approval. Facts, after all, should prevail over emotion.
When demand for a product with no immediate substitute exists, the means of finding its way to market also exists. Because the old Line 3 is in need of replacement, it cannot fulfill the entire demand. That gap is being filled by using rail cars, which is less efficient, more costly, and less safe.
It only makes sense for environmental safety, as well as public safety, to move the method of oil transport to “the safest way.” Why would someone who truly cares about the environment oppose this?
Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project has been the most scrutinized pipeline project in state history. If there is a silver lining to the opposition’s emotional argument, it’s that the reassessments have indeed left no stone unturned. The common denominator between the advocates and opposition is that we all care deeply about the environment and our waters.
Enbridge has pledged $100 million toward Native American tribes. Plans are in place to remove negotiated sections of the old line. Other things like Five Skies Consulting’s empowerment training, which Enbridge is using to help Native American tribes, is leading to career pathways in the trades.
If there were questions from stakeholders on how they wanted this project to proceed, these could have been negotiated during the process rather than threatening force.
Professional protest groups amongst the opposition are financed in part by efforts to protect railroad profits. How will their pledge to disrupt the project help communities? Their militant approach is so unnecessary. Those who truly care about the environment should distance themselves from these groups.
Join Minnesotans for Line 3, and let’s get Line 3 built — now.
Mike Schoneberger of Bemidji, Minn., is a safety consultant working in the oil and gas industry and is a member of the advocacy group Minnesotans for Line 3 (MinnesotansforLine3.com). He is the brother of the late Bob Schoneberger, the founder of Minnesotans for Line 3.