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Letters to the Editor kr

Wait for Court of Appeals

Let the Court of Appeals decide the matter brought by Honor the Earth to protect the waters, as the treaties intended, and put a halt to Enbridge’s Line 3 Project north of Palisade. Big oil is disrupting the wilderness to replace pipelines that now ship the dirtiest crude for a technology going extinct. Oil is the horse and buggy of the energy industry. Tar sands-derived heavy sludge is intensely polluting, the process of refining it especially. We inch toward the dun dun dun dun duuuuuuuunn moment when the planet gets just too hot, and the oceans continue to rise.

Entrepreneurs understand the profitability of starting business with cheap, available resources. Ice all over the planet is melting. All this water continues eroding waterfronts as tumultuous weather tosses it around. Tidal generators can make use of the power of currents, might be cheap to maintain. Fencing to protect ocean fish and wildlife could slow down bigger, destructive waves. Free electricity run through ocean water would gassify hydrogen and oxygen, to power everything and let us feel like Woody Harrelson, a fan of mood boosting O.”

Energy rich coasts need fresh water. Droughts are worsening in the west. Rainfall in the Lake Superior Basin has increased dramatically in the last third of a century. We have too much water. Silvaculture, farming is harder, as is protecting shorelines. But water is a free, exportable natural resource. Pipeline transport makes sense. Until Enbridge can literally clean up their act in this or some other Green New Deal-y way, they ought to just stop, wait for the Court of Appeals, and keep their thousands of potentially infectious workers out of northern Minnesota.

Five hundred three years have passed since the first treaty with Native Americans. Not one has been honored. We wait to hear what the Court of Appeals considers honoring a treaty. The Water Protectors at Standing Rock ultimately won litigation against Dakota Access Pipeline. After massive destruction, a break, a spill. Wait for the court.

We have altered nature so much that we have no choice but to manage ourselves better, including with better infrastructure. Much wild land should be benignly neglected and nature’s self-healing observed, if we’re still around to observe. After Katrina, all the flowering trees in New Orleans bloomed at once, even if out of season, in a biosphere-wide effort to stay alive.

We want to stay alive and need Mother Nature for that. What we don’t need is thousands of pipeline workers putting our health and safety at risk. For that reason alone, the pipeline project should be stalled until the virus dies down. And the appeal should be settled before Enbridge proceeds.

Marcia Baer, Aitkin


Positive impact

When large projects are planned by the government or private companies, they often do not deliver what people thought they would. It’s easy to make claims about how many jobs will be created to try to get people to support a project, knowing reality might be different when construction starts.

That is not the case however with the Line 3 Replacement Project. From when the process started, Enbridge promised this would be done the right way and to make sure jobs and spending happens here with union workers.

In less than a month since the final permit, more than 2,000 union members have already started working. More are being added every day as the project progresses, peaking at over 4,000 workers.

The impact of these workers is real and is already being seen in communities across Northern Minnesota. Hotels that were struggling to attract guests are now filling up. Restaurants forced to close their dining room are now doing more takeout orders than ever and stores are trying to keep up with demand.

This project is positively impacting local economies and downtowns. Even better, it is being done safely with no COVID-19 problems to date and it is being done in a way which is best for the environment.

In fact, the only negative thing we can note with the project is the number of out-of-town protesters who think it makes sense to chain themselves to heavy machinery and interfere with workers.

After six years of hearing Enbridge talk about the project and what it would mean for Minnesota, it was more than just talk. It was a commitment to support our communities, our workers, and our environment. In just a few weeks we have already seen this happen and it should give us hope that as bad as things are now because of COVID-19, we have a reason to have economic hope in 2021.

Luke Bruns, president Northern Horizons, Solway Inc., Solway

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