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Letter: Pipelines have potential for harm

The Enterprise published another article about the proposed pipeline by Enbridge. It would go from North Dakota across northern Minnesota, very close to the headwaters of the Mississippi and on into Wisconsin where the oil will be loaded on ships and sent to Canada.

If the Public Utilities Commission approves the proposed route, land owners on that route will have no say in the destruction of homes and farms that have been in families for generations, nor any veto of the great harm that will come to water supplies from any spills.

Enbridge tells us pipelines are safe but its own safety record is poor, more than 800 spills between 1999 and 2010. According to The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “The question is not if a pipeline will leak, but when, how much, and how often.”

Here was a headline by the AP on Oct. 28, 2013: “Nearly 300 Pipeline Spills in North Dakota Have Gone Unreported to the Public Since January 2012.”

Picture that same headline a year from now, but substitute “Minnesota” for “North Dakota.” How will you feel when your well is poisoned, your Minnesota lake? When a spill happens close to the source of the Mississippi and Itasca Park stinks from the spill, driving away a half million economically-necessary visitors a year?

I spoke with a woman who has lived on her property close to Itasca Park for 53 years. She came home one day to find stakes over her well and septic with the proposed pipeline apparently going through her home. And if Enbridge says it will buy her property (they’d set the price or just use eminent domain to take it from her), what gives a Canadian company the right to destroy so many lives? Where is our government which is supposed to protect us?

These pipelines aren’t going to make us “independent of foreign oil,” when the oil from this pipeline is leaving the country. The Enbridge pipeline will connect with Canadian refineries. It brings nothing to Minnesota except potential for great harm.

Ditto for the Keystone Pipeline, which is going from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico across some of the most valuable water resources in our country. Keystone Oil goes into a Tax-Free Zone in Louisiana where it is refined and then loaded on ships going overseas to foreign markets; the U.S. gets no taxes from refining or any benefit of “being independent of foreign oil.” The American public is being sold a bill of goods by Big Oil, just like the “scientists” for the tobacco companies did in telling us for decades that tobacco was good for us.

We are giving away our irreplacable environment to foreign and domestic oil companies.

Lorelei Kraft

Park Rapids