It’s been said that time flies when you are having fun.

When it comes to things like the process to get permits and approvals to replace the Line 3 oil pipeline, it seems like time has stopped and that things are now less clear than ever.

One year ago, thousands of people like us who support the project came together by being part of the process that led to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously voting to grant the Line 3 Replacement’s certificate of need and approve the route.

The commissioners made this important decision after reviewing and analyzing an amazing amount of information from the hundreds of meetings, the thousands of comments and all the other facts and details.

The facts were clear then as they are now: Minnesota needs Line 3. It is the most studied pipeline in Minnesota history and should be ready for construction.

Yet one year later it seems like time has stopped and a process that should have been getting close to final permits keeps finding new reasons to not move forward.

We put our trust in the process and the people who are responsible for making these important decisions. The public utility commissioners did their work by voting to approve Line 3. Local governments along the line have done their work by getting their permits done and approving right-of-way access.

We have wasted a year that should have been used by crews to replace a pipeline we know we need. It’s time for others to get their work done so we can celebrate the start of construction and instead of, one year from now, asking why progress has stopped again.

Abby Loucks, Mel Olson and Todd Rothe, St. Paul

The writers are members of the Minnesotans for Line 3 Advisory Council.


Debate winners: Warren and Harris

It wasn’t the two old white guys who currently lead Democratic voter preference polls who prevailed in this week’s debates. It was two women.

Elizabeth Warren, according to polls and pundits, won on Wednesday. And Kamala Harris hit several home runs in her stellar and impassioned performance Thursday.

Warren appeals to our heads. Harris appeals to our hearts. Warren is cerebral. Harris is visceral.

Warren was already rising in polls, sapping support from one of those old white guys, Bernie Sanders. But it is Harris’s standing that was most enhanced, and her performance means she will rise in national polls. That hurts the second old white guy, Joe Biden.

Ultimately the field will narrow, possibly to just these four and Pete Buttigieg.

All five of these candidates have the financial and organizational assets allowing them to stay in this for quite some time. But the countervailing powers and appeals of these five could mean there is no decisive winner after the primary season.

Could we see an open convention in 2020?

David Peterson, Duluth

• • •

I don’t understand Democrats.

At Thursday’s debate Kamala Harris got one of the biggest cheers when she said, “Americans don’t want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”

I always thought it was my job to put food on my table.

Roxie Aho, Oakdale


So the mine is suddenly good for us?

Imagine my surprise to see an infomercial for mining companies PolyMet and Glencore on the front page of the Star Tribune the other day (“PolyMet is closer to opening,” June 25).

With Minnesotans deeply divided over copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota, multiple active lawsuits, and the recently opened investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general into irregularities over the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s handling of the EPA comments on the project, the last thing I expected was a poorly sourced puff piece from a newspaper I generally think of as fair and balanced.

The only named sources in the article are PolyMet officials, consultants close to the mining industry, and a college professor who is also a shareholder in the company. References are made to anonymous “analysts” who chat breezily about the sunny economic prospects for the company and the “leg up” that having access to the abandoned mine at Hoyt Lakes gives PolyMet.

Unmentioned is the fact that financial backer Glencore, soon to be majority owner of PolyMet, has been called the second-worst company in the world by the United Steelworkers Union and “the commodities giant with no soul” by IndustriALL Global Union, citing workers resisting Glencore’s labor and human rights policies in 14 countries. (Only a passing nod is given in a short two-paragraph mention of regulatory controversies and “allegations” of corruption. There is zero discussion of the environmental concerns that have ruptured the politics of northeastern Minnesota.)

And most shocking is the rosy picture painted for the ability of PolyMet to rustle up the $1 billion needed to finance the project — this for a company whose stock is at a 14-year low ($1 a year ago and now only around 40 cents) in a highly volatile world copper market.

For this quality of reportage about a product and a business, I usually look to the TV home shopping networks and pop-ads on Facebook. Star Tribune — you can do better.

Leah Rogne, Gheen, Minn.


Medicalizing identity hurts kids

The authors of the June 25 counterpoint “Pediatric gender care is safe and necessary” claim that social stigma is to blame for poor health among Minnesota’s transgender-identified youths and that the solution lies in puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. In reality, it is the medicalizing of identity that is putting children in harm’s way.

In Sweden, where “gender markers” on birth certificates have been alterable since 1972, and the Netherlands, the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, there is proof that a progressive culture does not improve health outcomes for transgender-identified people. Studies from both countries show that rates of mortality and suicide among this population are extraordinarily high. Transgender-identified people are not benefiting from transition, even when social stigma and discrimination are all but eliminated.

Second, there is evidence that co-morbid mental health conditions, and not social stigma, are the source of negative health outcomes. Children referred to gender clinics frequently have mental health diagnoses that pre-existed their transgender identification. Depression, autism, eating disorders and anxiety are common and often severe among these young people, and these conditions are not ameliorated by hormones and surgery.

But instead of giving precedence to the least harmful treatment, the Children’s Gender Health program is subjecting kids to the most dangerous and least reversible of all possible options. According to the American College of Pediatricians, without medical interventions like puberty blockers, up to 98% of boys and 88% of girls who are confused about their sex eventually feel comfortable in their own skin. Conversely, studies show that children who are prescribed puberty blockers persist in their transgender feelings and go on to use cross-sex hormones, initiating lifelong dependence on powerful chemicals.

Medically enabled self-rejection is neither safe nor necessary. Instead, let’s work to teach our children that their bodies are beautiful just the way they are.

Emily A. Zinos, St. Paul

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