Writing about the Line 3 replacement project ("Court has betrayed Indian people again," Oct. 9), Winona LaDuke fails to offer the complete picture and gets her facts wrong. We would like to clarify a few points.
First, to say that no cultural survey has taken place is patently false. The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa led the longest and most extensive tribal cultural resource properties survey ever performed on a pipeline project in Minnesota. Nine tribes participated with staff and more than 30 tribes consulted with the Army Corps of Engineers on this project. Line 3's environmental impact statement includes extensive discussion of potential impacts to tribal, cultural, historic and archaeological resources.
This includes information provided by many Native American tribes and tribal members during the many opportunities for public involvement in the regulatory process. Years of environmental and cultural studies plus extensive engagement efforts resulted in more than 50 responsive changes to Line 3's route.
Then there is the issue of need. Line 3 is not an "export" line as LaDuke erroneously believes. It is, in fact, needed, contrary to her opinion.
Minnesotans consume more than 12.8 million gallons of petroleum products every day, relying on imports to meet these energy needs. Minnesota's two refineries produce more than two-thirds of the state's petroleum products, and 80% of these are refined from Canadian crude oil. All the pipeline-delivered Canadian crude supplied to Minnesota comes from Enbridge's system, of which Line 3 is a critical component. Demand for crude oil is expected to grow even under the most conservative forecasts that factor in widespread use of electric vehicles.
It's also worth noting that because crude oil is needed it is already being shipped through Minnesota communities by truck and train, which are much more carbon-intensive and dangerous alternatives than pipeline transport.
All of Minnesota stands to gain from this project, including tribal communities. Enbridge has dedicated $100 million of Line 3's project dollars on spending with tribal- and Native-owned businesses. The replacement of Line 3 is a $2.6 billion private investment by Enbridge in Minnesota's critical energy infrastructure. During construction, the project will create 8,600 jobs in the state. In terms of economic impact that is about $334 million in payroll to workers, and a $162 million construction-related gain for local economies through purchase of local products/materials and use of local hotels, restaurants and services.
Looking long term, each county crossed by the project will receive additional property tax revenue. Enbridge already pays more than $30 million in Minnesota property taxes annually; this will increase incrementally by $35 million beginning the first full year of service.
Replacing an existing pipeline with new pipe featuring thicker steel and state-of-the-art coatings will protect Minnesota's environment for generations to come. As a leader in energy infrastructure systems we believe that diversification by — and innovation within — energy companies will play a significant role in the transition to a lower-emission economy, and we are a part of building that new future.
More than 14,000 Minnesotans have signed a letter of support for replacing Line 3, the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history.
We agree with LaDuke on one point: It is time to do the right thing. After four years of working through the state's environmental and regulatory review processes, it's time to move forward with replacing this important piece of energy infrastructure.
Barry Simonson is director of Line 3 replacement execution for Enbridge.