Barry Simonson’s Oct. 15 commentary, “Enbridge’s Line 3 is necessary,” was deceptive.

He says that “demand for crude oil is expected to grow.” But Enbridge’s mainline system already far exceeds Minnesota’s steady usage. If Simonson means global markets, he fails to consider growing world demand to end fossil fuel development and escalating global divestment. European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer proposes to stop all fossil fuel lending by 2020. This trend continues as climate science demands leaving most remaining fossil fuels in the ground, lest we accelerate human extinction.

He says the oil “is already being shipped through Minnesota communities by truck and train.” He fails to mention new technologies like BitCrude containers that transport semisolid bitumen (it’s safe, nonflammable, floats on fresh and saltwater and is nontoxic to marine life).

Simonson claims “all of Minnesota stands to gain from this project.” Some will gain financially. But we all will risk losing clean water.

“Looking long term,” Simonson says, “each county crossed by the project will receive additional property tax revenue.” Meanwhile, due to a Minnesota Tax Court ruling, Red Lake and Clearwater counties may owe Enbridge more in refunds than their entire annual budgets.

He claims that “thicker steel and state-of-the-art coatings will protect Minnesota’s environment.” Their pipes have been deteriorating on the ground for years. What studies have been done to show if this will adversely affect performance post-installation? Like the cracked pipes from improper shipping now necessitate a new Line 3, we may find deteriorated coatings are simply another failure for Enbridge.

Last, he says that “more than 14,000 Minnesotans … support … replacing Line 3.” Minnesota’s public comment process showed five times more (68,000) writing in opposition.

Jami Gaither, Alida, Minn.


My country turns to democracy

As a member of the diasporan Ethiopian community in the Twin Cities, I appreciate the Star Tribune’s recognition of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister (“A worthy Nobel for Ethiopia’s Abiy,” Oct. 12).

This is a remarkable achievement for the people of Ethiopia and the African continent as a whole. As emphasized in the article, this recognition is important to encourage accountable leadership both for achieving peace in the region and for building true democracy.

The award is also important for Ethiopian and East African communities in the U.S., because it signals that the region is making progress toward peace and democracy after long years of turmoil.

The Nobel Prize also provides an incentive for our diaspora community to continue to contribute to the progress toward peace in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. It is my hope that educational resources such as Books For Africa’s Law and Democracy Initiative, which I lead, will help promote a strong democracy and the rule of law to further build a just and civil society in Ethiopia and throughout the rest of Africa. Books are the foundation of education in Ethiopia and throughout the continent, and education is a crucial ingredient in a budding democracy.

Jote Taddese, Plymouth

The writer is board president of Books For Africa and a native of Oromia, Ethiopia.


Wait, China is leasing an island?

Be aware of the potential for danger developing in the Solomon Islands. A New York Times article (“China is leasing island in secret deal,” Oct. 17) stated, “Under a secretive deal signed last month with a provincial government in the Solomon Islands, a Beijing-based company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party has secured exclusive development rights for the entire island of Tulagi and its surroundings. ... The projects could give Beijing an opening to establish a military foothold.”

If the name “Tulagi” sounds innocuous to you, note that it essentially means “Guadalcanal.” The two islands are separated by a narrow strait nicknamed “Ironbottom Sound” for all the Japanese and American ships sunk there in 1942 and 1943. In the first major American offensive of World War II, our forces landed on the two islands on the same day to wrest them from the Japanese invaders.

China possibly establishing military bases in the Solomons would be akin to Nazi Germany entering the Sudetenland. It should be the policy of the United States that economic investments are fine; but any attempt to establish a Chinese military presence in lands freed by American blood will not be tolerated, and if established, they shall be destroyed. This needs to be made clear while the situation is still manageable.

Thousands of Americans died taking back Tulagi, Guadalcanal and the rest of the Solomons. They were your grandfathers and great-uncles. Their sacrifice should not have been for the benefit of Xi Jinping.

Stephen Partridge, Edina


A heartfelt goodbye to T.C. Bear

The Minnesota Twins announced this week they “parted ways” with the human who has been in the T.C. Bear costume since 2000 (“Twins part ways with the man who played T.C. Bear,” Oct. 17). They assured fans that T.C. Bear isn’t going away, and they will look for a new human to don the costume. Well said. That is what Twins fans can look forward to. It’s exactly what I have seen in almost every other ballpark across the country (to be fair, there are five ballparks I have not visited yet).

If you visit the Nationals in D.C., you can wander the concourse before the game and high-five or have your picture taken with the presidents. Those mascots are not engaging with children or fans, but they make a nice Instagram post. They have the charm of a cheap mall Santa.

I have always been proud of the Twins organization for being different. T.C. Bear was unlike other mascots. Many of us have witnessed T.C. gently calm rambunctious children jumping excitedly around him. Even more heartwarming was his gentle patience with shy little fans whose parents wanted a picture with “the bear.” T.C. Bear was out in the community, visiting hospitals, building ball fields and traveling with the Twins caravan. He communicated without speaking and connected with people. Yes, T.C. Bear actually remembered fans, and let them know he remembered them. Truly nothing can compare to how T.C. Bear made many fans, young and old, feel special.

Personally, T.C. Bear has made me feel like a valued fan for almost 10 years. T.C. Bear was hired to attend my birthday party — my 50th birthday party. He didn’t speak one word, yet made my family and friends laugh. He gently held my infant great niece for a photo. We were all amazed at his ability to communicate without speaking. Fast-forward three months, and at a spring training game, T.C. Bear gave me a wonderful bear hug, and let us know that he remembered us! What a great feeling as a fan to be appreciated.

I don’t know the man in the T.C. Bear costume, but I know the real T.C. Bear. Thank you for being a bright spot in Twins Territory for almost 20 years. You will be missed by many. I know anyone as dedicated and kind as you will come out on top. And if we pass at Target Field or Hammond Stadium, feel free to stop me for a bear hug.

Jean Fashant, Eden Prairie

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