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Letter: Enbridge is not the enemy

In response to recent letters/rants regarding the Enbridge expansion projects, first of all there are no guarantees in life. None! If we do not want to harm in any way, shape or form the environment we must all leave this earth to do so. That is not much of an option in my book. So the goal should be to act as a good steward to the environment (and everything else) and use the tools God gave us – brains and resources – to do so.

Anyone with factual knowledge knows that pipelines are by far safer for transportation of energy products based on volumes moved than any other form. Pipelines can be and are built in an environmentally friendly way – provided the rules are set forth and known at the time of construction. The concern over pipelines crossing or going near rivers and lakes is real! But that environmental risk is unmeasurably small. There are no guarantees. I have not seen any data – and none may exist – but railroads have bridges that cross rivers and streams and also transport oil. Those same railroads cross roads, they hit cars (when the human driving is not paying attention), and have spills. Remember the Benzene spill in Superior, Wis. in 1992 where a rail car/tanker came off a bridge, landed in the Nemadji River, broke open and caused the evacuation of 50,000 people? Railroads also have a higher frequency of accidents when measured against volume transported. That concerns me. But not so much that I believe it cannot be fixed by safety protocols and close regulation and society will improve as a result of that.

An analogy that I have told others is that people die every day in auto accidents – we don’t stop building cars because of that, do we? No, we learn from the mistakes that humans make while driving and then we build the cars safer because of that, and that is what we as Americans do. It is also exactly what is being done in the pipeline industry. They (the pipelines) are getting safer every day. As long as man is involved, perfection will be absent, but moving to the zero point will always be the goal.

The problem with all the brilliant ideas out there is that they “go nowhere.” Using existing corridors (when available) is always a better option, and generally shorter, and generally less expensive, and generally cause less impact to the environment and to the general public. The less miles of pipe in the ground to me means less overall impact to the environment and that I think is a tough argument to beat? Not to say that a straight line is the only option, because a little sashay here and there is fine, but to make a 600-mile pipeline along existing corridors or a 1,500-mile pipeline that is 50 percent in new territory is just dumb if the goal and destination is the same. It may get next to a river or stream or lake, but they (pipelines) do not regularly travel through towns (like rails regularly do), they are safer (than rails), and cheaper (than rails).

Pipeline spills do not scare me, they concern me. Texting and driving – that scares me! We are ingenious individuals, we clean up our messes, and we learn from our mistakes so they don’t happen again. Rather than fight change and things that matter to all of us – embrace change and work to make it better. Stopping progress does not change anything. Think about it…

Bob Schoneberger

Gordon, Wis