One of the best things about this country is we can have different opinions and make our voices and opinions heard. However, when it comes to the Line 3 Replacement Project, some opponents are taking their frustrations too far.
I was disappointed to hear recent stories of pipeline protesters not only blocking worksites but taking their frustrations out on the people involved on the project. Some opponents have protested at the private homes of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission members, and videos even show some protesters screaming at pipeline workers and hurling inflammatory insults and language at these hard-working men and women.
While I can understand frustration over a decision not going your way, these actions are unwarranted. We are at a time when we all, as Minnesotans and Americans, need to take a step back and remember that these inappropriate actions are just that: inappropriate. We need to work together to remember that civil conversation and dialogue can get us much further in life and in disagreements such as this.
It is important to note that there have indeed been peaceful protesters who reasonably voice their opposition. It is not always easy, but restraint and productive dialogue can be a positive when it comes to difficult issues.
In this situation, we must look at one simple fact: The current pipeline is deteriorating and dangerous. Minnesotans need to be reminded why we need Line 3.
The decision to move forward with the Line 3 project was not an impromptu one. Following more than five years of reviews and studies, courts and government agencies ruled in favor of replacing the rapidly aging pipeline, which dates back to the 1960s.
I understand the hesitancy of environmental groups to support this project, but I am confident that with the incredibly thorough environmental-impact studies and other reviews, no one involved in this project is seeking to do any damage to our environment. We simply must replace Line 3.
At a time when political tempers have been inflamed, it is essential we do our best to turn down the tone of our conversations. I would implore everyone related to the Line 3 pipeline to tone down our rhetoric and remain respectful, even if we disagree with each other. We need to work together to return our state and nation to a place where sensible debate is welcomed and done so in a respectful manner.
Brian Holmer is mayor of Thief River Falls, Minnesota. He wrote this for the News Tribune.