I read with deep concern "Next up for Biden: Stop Line 3" (Jan. 28) put forward by DFL elected officials calling on President Joe Biden to cancel the Line 3 replacement project the same way he canceled Keystone XL. The ignorance in that piece requires a firm response.
One line in particular struck a nerve for me. The DFL legislators say, "We knew it was important for us to make informed opinions about the project … we visited with Indigenous leaders, water protectors and peaceful demonstrators … ."
Not one of the DFL legislators named on this piece bothered to pick up a phone and ask our union, which represents the men and women currently building the Line 3 replacement project, for any views on this matter. The fact is, these DFL legislators don't want contrary opinions. They only seek opinions from people who agree with them and which further their divisive politicization of this issue. They would rather gin up their political base and use this issue to stoke division than get factual information.
When it comes to pipelines and too many other issues these days, facts don't seem to matter, only politics. The fact is, the oil from the Canadian oil sands will come out of the ground and be delivered to customers whether or not there are pipelines to move it. The real choice, the only choice, is whether this oil is moved via truck, rail or pipeline.
If you care about the climate, that choice is easy. Pipelines emit far less CO2 than trucks or rail shipments.
Some other relevant facts that are ignored by these DFL legislators:
There are Indigenous tribes in Minnesota that have reached agreements with Enbridge on the Line 3 replacement project. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being awarded to Indigenous-owned businesses for work on the replacement of Line 3. Hundreds of tribal members are working on this project, making a great living. Our union trained them.
More than 1,600 operating engineers and thousands of other skilled union tradesmen and women are currently working on this project, supporting their families. Small businesses in the area devastated by COVID-19 restrictions are recovering with the significant boost in sales this activity is causing. Local governments that have faced significant downturns in revenue due to COVID-19 are now seeing more money come into their coffers. These are all facts, not opinions.
Here is another fact — if President Biden were to be successful in trying to cancel the Line 3 replacement, all those incredibly positive things would be canceled too. Meanwhile, the oil would still come out of the ground, go into these DFL legislators' vehicles, help heat their homes and help create the plastic products they use every day.
There is one other fact these legislators don't want to hear about. Violent protest activities are escalating on this project. We have seen equipment burned. Workers are being spat on, cursed out, and harassed daily. I have the videos to prove it and will be sending these DFL legislators this footage so they can no longer pretend it isn't happening.
Reasonable people can disagree respectfully. What is wrong with our politics now is that people are spewing opinions without bothering to get the facts and actually avoiding information that contradicts their already formed opinion. We should all do better. We must all do better. Or we are all doomed to continue the cycle of stupidity that currently dominates our public discussion.
Jason George is business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 in Minneapolis.