Reader's View: Line 3 not a ‘transition;’ it’s an expansion

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In his Aug. 18 column in the News Tribune (In Response: “ Plan for a 'just transition' includes replacing Line 3 ”), Paul Eberth, Enbridge’s director of tribal engagement, conceded that, yes, climate change is a “legitimate concern.” So, too,178,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could be minimized as a “legitimate concern.” I choose to call both crises “threats to humankind.” Eberth even acknowledged a need for a transition to alternative energy supplies but cautioned that conventional energy cannot be shut down anytime soon.

By 2017, Enbridge doubled the capacity of its Alberta Clipper pipeline to 800,000 barrels per day. The same year, Enbridge purchased a stake in the 470,000 barrels-per-day Dakota Access Pipeline. Efforts are now in place to double the Dakota Access Pipeline throughput. Now Enbridge wishes to nearly double the throughput of the Line 3 pipeline with a design to accommodate future increases.

Adding the Line 3 proposal’s additional nearly 400,000 barrels per day is not a transition. It is expansion. You don’t get to transition by adding pumping stations or parallel lines, and you certainly don’t get to transition by providing new pipelines for Alberta’s noncompetitive and toxic product.

Consider Xcel Energy’s plans to provide 100% carbon-free power by 2050. Part of that plan entails the shutdown of Xcel’s four remaining Minnesota coal-fired utilities before the close of 2030. Consider further that the Line 3 project would add the equivalent atmospheric carbon dioxide loading of 50 new coal-fired plants, eclipsing any benefit of Xcel’s closures.

Yes, I have a “legitimate concern” with the transition alluded to by Eberth. Unlike the hope for a COVID-19 vaccine, climate change offers us no such possibility. The year 2050 is a drop-dead date to eliminate additional carbon dioxide atmospheric loading. Real transition must start now, and it must begin by preventing additional tar sands transport capacity. Minnesota isn’t Enbridge’s conduit.


Jerry Striegel

St. Paul, Minnesota

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