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There is no need for Enbridge pipeline

Enbridge Pipeline Company came to town this last week and I want to thank the League of Women Voters of Park Rapids, and all who came to listen to the discussions, including the Enbridge representatives. I think a meeting of interested landowners, lakeshore owners and community people might be in order- as Enbridge hopes to begin pipeline construction in 2014. In the meantime, Public Utilities Commission is going to decide if this is an absolutely essential project… aka approving a certificate of need. Soon.

There is no need. We’re exporting six times as much finished petroleum product (2.1 million barrels of oil per day) as the “need” for the Sandpiper expects to carry...(350,000 bpd)... “for America’s energy security.”

If Enbridge secures that certificate of need, the company may imminent domain property owners lands (initially filing restraining orders against landowners, as they have to North Dakota’s James Botsworth). North Dakota has pretty bad laws for most of this, Minnesota is better...We hope. Time, however, is important.

Remember Enbridge is a Canadian Corporation, and eminent domain takings by a Canadian company may be distasteful… but that’s fair trade apparently. In the meantime, Enbridge needs 2,000 easements and rights of way, and a lot of permits. All of those can be challenged. The Carleton County landowners who came to the meeting in Park Rapids, have been challenging Enbridge, and indeed, the British Columbian government has opposed a similar pipeline. Enbridge is not considered a very nice neighbor by a lot of people. 

There are a lot of lakeshore owners, who are realizing that after a 30-inch fracked oil pipeline runs near your land, property values are going down. (Think about the people in Mayflower, Ark., who had a pipeline leak into their yards.)

A few thoughts from that meeting: Selling the idea of a pipeline is a slippery one. Enbridge’s representatives claim they just upgraded all pipelines in the Great Lakes (Lakehead system), they failed to mention that the upgrade was ordered by the federal government’s National Surface Transportation Board, because of violations. As well, the single largest pipeline spill in the U.S. history (still not cleaned up) is an Enbridge accident. Enbridge knew of a faulty pipe in one case, for five years before they fixed it, and, in the case of the proposed Sandpiper line – that pipeline will be monitored from Saskatchewan. And, Enbridge representatives explained that this was the preferred route, because there were less people, and less federal lands- ie: reservations. Because, it turns out, the Leech Lake Tribe is not interested in a seventh pipeline crossing its territory when old spills and toxic waste dumps are still there.

Enbridge representatives told us they’ve been around 65 years, and plan on being around 65 more. That’s not enough for most of us who have generations invested in this land and these lakes.

Putting something as volatile as what blew up in Casselton, N.D., or Lac Megantic, Quebec in a pipeline is still not a fabulous idea, particularly if I don’t need it. So, hey, that $2.5 billion 30-inch pipeline is sort of a lot to shove down my throat for less than a year’s “energy security,” so to speak.