The Nov. 24 commentary “Sandpiper pipeline is best choice for state” is not only presumptive, but woefully lacking in factual information.
The summary headline, “It’s better than trucks or rail and also offers economic benefits,” is a false argument. Most concerned citizens see the necessity of a pipeline. The argument is not about pipelines vs. trucks or rail — the argument is where is the safest, least environmentally harmful route (short- and long-term) that would accomplish the passage of crude oil to other parts of the world without destroying our state’s most valuable natural resources.
Alternative routes have been suggested and are being researched because the Enbridge proposed route puts hundreds of miles of prime lakes and wetlands at risk of an oil spill. The idea that proposed alternative routes add miles and therefore subsequent environmental and human impacts is wrong. In fact, doing it right will be cheaper.
The alternative route proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is being researched and is suggested because it is considered less harmful to the environment. The writers suggest that Enbridge has spent $1 billion for the Kalamazoo cleanup. It’s four years later, and the job is not yet done. It is highly likely that critical natural and wildlife areas, habitats and creatures that would be damaged by an oil spill would not be restored. Oil spills in wetlands, in waters and in environmentally sensitive areas are often never remediated but rather just called “complete” at some point.
This route area is centered on the Mississippi River Headwaters, and we could see an unprecedented spill. The Mississippi, which supplies drinking water to Minneapolis, is crossed at least twice by the current Enbridge proposed pipeline route (and many acres or square miles of its watershed, lakes, wetlands, streams, rivers and lakes are endangered).
Why would we allow that if there is a better, a safer, a right way to position this pipeline?
We are far healthier and safer as a state if we heed the direction of the MPCA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which have the best interests of the state in mind, and not an oil company with profit and speed-to-market as its first priorities.
The writer lives in Mendota Heights.