An out-of-touch environmental law firm is again utilizing extreme, perhaps-unscrupulous tactics to attempt to halt construction of the approved Line 3 pipeline. A one-of-a-kind resolution was recently drafted to, in the words of its authors, "recognize the legal rights of a plant species." The species is the wild rice that Line 3 would crisscross far underground and not affect. The resolution calls for giving rice legal protections similarly held by people.
A group of high school students egged on by anti-fossil fuel activists held a press conference to urge Gov. Tim Walz to oppose all oil and natural-gas pipelines. As activists know, no one sways doubters more than children. What wasn't mentioned: Pipelines are by far the safest way to transport energy. Failing to build them could result in higher energy prices for families, including these same children being manipulated.
Instead of making wild rice a person and demeaning what has been done in the name of civil rights or using unsuspecting youth who are more susceptible to one-sided arguments and virtue marketing, activist groups need to own their points and come to the table with solutions. Lawmakers should also listen to lower-income families who regularly spend dangerously high percentages of their take-home pay on energy expenses.
Pipelines like Line 3 - which has passed through a years-long, exhaustive review process - help lower unnecessarily high energy costs.
Line 3 has operated for more than 50 years. Now, like all infrastructure, it needs to be modernized with the most advanced safety technology to improve reliability and to protect the environment. Families and businesses will not only benefit from the energy the line will provide, they will benefit from the additional environmental and safety funds created with communities - and wild rice - in mind.
The writer is the Minnesota director of the Consumer Energy Alliance (consumerenergyalliance.org).