We need to agree on a process for evaluating major projects like the Line 3 pipeline-replacement project in northern Minnesota. The process must be objective and science-based to approve valid projects and weed out bad ones. In recent years, it seems that litigation and political maneuvering, based more on ideology than science, have been attempting to replace the established environmental-review process.
Over the years I’ve heard our regulatory agencies are either anti-environment or anti-business, depending on the perspective of the source. Based on my experience, our regulatory agencies take the potential impacts of these major projects very seriously, and I see no reason to distrust the existing process.
Significant decisions are being made regarding the Enbridge Line 3 project. There have been years of opportunity for folks to weigh in with their concerns or support. The decision will be based on a comprehensive look at how the project proponent will minimize the risk of negative environmental impacts.
If the risk is determined to be low and the project moves forward, the potential benefits could be significant, not the least of which is increased tax base. When completed, the pipeline will be a narrow, grassy corridor that generates millions of tax dollars while requiring minimal public services.
Rather than continuing to dwell on problems that “might” happen, we should collectively decide how to best utilize part of this new revenue to address existing, underfunded environmental challenges in our communities.
Minnesota has among the most stringent environmental-review standards in the nation. If a project receives required permits resulting from the lengthy, science-based environmental-review and public-consultation process, the project should be allowed to move forward. Conversely, if the project cannot meet the standards (and many can’t), they don’t belong here or anywhere.