Letter: Enbridge meeting was one-sided
I read your front-page article on the Enbridge pipeline and the meeting hosted by Steve Peterson and the Honor the Earth group from the White Earth Tribe. Your article indicated that the meeting provided information on the project. Being undecided, I attended with the hope of getting better informed on the project.
Unfortunately, the meeting was a one-sided presentation of complaints against Enbridge, against the Oil Industry, and against anything coming through Hubbard County or any Indian Reservation land. This is a sample of some of the one sided issues discussed:
n The claim was made that the thousands of jobs created (over 3,000) were useless because no one in Hubbard County had the skill level required for the jobs, they would only last for about 2 years, and there would only be a small number of sustainment jobs after completion of the project. Nothing was mentioned about how this construction project would help local businesses during the building phase nor was it mentioned that any job, even temporary jobs, is a good job when we are in a deep recession.
n The claim was made that the underground pipeline “somehow” spooks animals and wildlife from grazing or drinking anywhere near a buried line.
On the contrary, I read that the cleared areas above the lines provided a great grazing habitat for deer and other wildlife.
n The claim was made that all the oil would go to a tax-free zone in Louisiana, be turned into gas and shipped overseas … unavailable to the U.S. market. That is patently untrue. Fact, we produce more gasoline than we consume and subsequently sell the excess overseas for huge profits that help fire the U.S. economy. The fact is, most of the gas produced by U.S. refineries is consumed in the US and while the oil companies will not give statistics on what percent they ship overseas, we are a net exporter of fuels for the first time since the 1940s. We need oil and refineries to meet our thirst for gas powered equipment!
n It was also claimed that in addition to the tax- free status of refineries, the U.S. oil companies pay no U.S. tax and Minnesotans would see no financial benefit from this pipeline. In fact, the New York Times reported that the three biggest U.S. oil companies paid a combined total of close to $300 billion dollars in direct cash payments to the US government over the past 5 years. Exxon alone paid 146 Billion dollars. As to the claim about Louisiana, they get 15 percent of their budget from the oil industry and a significant number of their population is employed in the refinery business.
n There was also significant confusion at the meeting on the type of oil the pipeline will carry. They kept talking about “oil sands” and the devastating effect this type of oil would have on the pipeline. Now I learned that the pipeline would only carry Bakken
crude, which is not “oil sands.”
I am as concerned as any other citizen about this type of oil production and the safety of moving it in a pipeline. However, given the environmentalists push to kill nuclear energy or any new coal fired electric plants, the U.S. has little choice but to continue to use gas and oil in heating and in other energy production processes. That means we will continually need new sources of crude oil/natural gas. We are not living in Teepee’s and riding horses.
We need electricity and we need gas and oil for our transportation industry.
There were NO viable alternatives offered by this group for other pipeline routes or methods of getting this oil to the refineries.
Finally, I would like someone to present a balanced presentation on the safety issues of this pipeline. My hope is that the Hubbard County Commission will take the lead to provide a more detailed presentation on the pros and cons of this project.