“Decades of smoking are catching up to you. Your lungs are permanently damaged by emphysema. But there is hope. If you quit smoking now, you can preserve the health you have.” As an internist, I’ve said this to my patients countless times.

Today, medical societies around the world — including the American Heart Association, the American Pediatrics, and the American Nurses Association — are saying the same about the damage we are doing to our climate: “Over the past century, we’ve burned enough fossil fuels to raise the Earth’s temperature by 1 degree celcius. This rise in temperature is already impacting the health of Americans. Even though this warming will continue to have impacts on our world for centuries, if we stop burning fossil fuels now, we can stave off the worst impacts.”

Minnesota is already working on solutions to transition to a healthy future powered by clean energy. The Minnesota Department of Transportation drafted a pathway to decarbonize transportation in Minnesota by 2050, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is drafting Clean Cars Rule.

The replacement Line 3 pipeline will carry dirty tar sands oil that will pollute our air, poison our water and land, and damage our climate. Six health professionals and many scientists — including a geologist, botanist, two water scientists, a chemical engineer, a physicist, and an ecologist — implored the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to listen to the science. Save for Commissioner Matthew Schuerger, the PUC voted to grant the certificate of need against the advice of the science community (“Minnesota regulators approve Line 3 — again,” Feb. 4).

We now call upon Gov. Tim Walz and MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop to protect the health of all Minnesotans and deny the permits to Line 3. The pollution control agency will take public comments for 30 days starting March 2.

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Laalitha Surapaneni


The writer is a physician in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. She testified against Line 3 at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearing on Jan 31.