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Local View: Line 3 actually necessary for environmental protection

At first glance, the planned replacement of Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline might seem to be against the views of environmentalists and a backward step in the fight against global warming. However, upon further examination, it is evident this is n...

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Denfeld’s 1947 boys basketball team is the only Denfeld basketball team to win a state title. The team’s head coach was Lloyd Holm. Team members were Rudy Monson, Larry Tessier, Paul Nace, Kenneth Sunnarborg, Eugene Norlander, Howard Tucker, Tony Skull, Jerry Walczak, Bruce Budge, Keith Stolen and student manager Bob Scott.

At first glance, the planned replacement of Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline might seem to be against the views of environmentalists and a backward step in the fight against global warming. However, upon further examination, it is evident this is not the case.

First off, having the old pipeline in place presents significant safety hazards. Currently, Line 3 is running at about half capacity due to its nearing the end of its 50-year lifespan and the risks associated with aging pipelines. Newer technology and hardware will decrease the already minimal risks of a spill.

It just makes sense: A newer pipe is less likely to leak; and the longer we wait to replace the old pipe, the older it gets.

Simply removing the line altogether isn't an option. If the pipeline is removed, thousands of miles of existing pipeline would be cut off from the oil supply and become unusable, drastically damaging the oil economy in the U.S.

In addition, even with its age, this existing pipeline is far less likely to cause a spill than any other means of oil transport. Replacing the pipeline is the safest way to transport oil.

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Because oil pipelines go through hundreds of miles of wilderness, there are often concerns regarding the environmental effects of replacing them. As a general rule, oil companies and oil-transport companies don't have the best reputations when it comes to protecting the wilderness.

That said, Enbridge will have a lot of eyes on it as it installs a new Line 3 throughout the wilderness of Minnesota, and the company has promised to minimize the effects of its new pipeline's installation on the environment. If it fails to meet stringent guidelines, Enbridge will be held responsible and likely brought to court, something it wants to avoid.

Also, a significant portion of the replacement line is expected to follow the old path, lessening even more the potential for environmental damage.

Finally, Enbridge will be monitoring both the new pipeline and the emptied-out old pipeline, 24/7, watching for any abnormalities.

The safety of having a modern pipeline in place far outweighs the risks of its installation.

The Line 3 project is a necessary replacement of an aging oil pipeline that's at risk of causing a spill. While it is often viewed as an environmental risk, the new pipeline actually is necessary for environmental protection.

More oil is likely to be pumped through the new Line 3, but this will not increase the amount of oil used in the United States. The amount of fossil fuels consumed is ultimately up to consumers. While environmentalists hope to someday eliminate the need for oil pipelines completely, making sure a pipeline is unlikely to spill will have to do for now.

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Zierden,Ryker

Ryker Zierden of Duluth is a student at Hermantown High School who researched and wrote originally for a college-level composition class.

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