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Letter to the editor: The Enbridge numbers game

2,400? 13,600? 8,600? 4,800? Which is it?

Enbridge has been happy to tell us about all the jobs their pipeline projects will bring to our state. During the Sandpiper it was 2,400 jobs to construct the pipeline. Couple weeks ago their orange direct mail piece read 13,600 jobs. A recent story in the Grand Rapids paper read 8,600 jobs. The MN Dept of Commerce's draft environmental impact study (DEIS) on the Line 3 pipeline states 4,800 temporary jobs, 4,200 of which are non-local workers (folks not from this region.) So which number are we to believe?

The DEIS contains a number to know. The number of permanent jobs created by their relocated Line 3 pipeline is zero.

There's another set of truly significant numbers Enbridge doesn't want us to know. They are fighting with the state to prevent the public from seeing these numbers.

Nearly a quarter of the 5,500 page DEIS document addresses oil spills. In all that analysis you will not find the numbers used to calculate the spill impacts. Enbridge redacted those numbers from the public version of the DEIS. Without them there is no reliable way an independent party, like Friends of the Headwaters, can verify their results. What don't they want us to know?

The expanded Line 3 pipeline, as proposed, will cross the heart of Minnesota's pristine headwaters country. Primarily, it would transport Canadian heavy crude, tar sands oil, diluted bitumen or dilbit. When dilbit enters a water body, the diluents float vaporizing in a toxic cloud, but the bitumen sinks and sticks to the bottom. No wonder so many Minnesotans are worried about the consequences of an oil spill in these valuable waters.

When it comes to the promised benefits of its project, Enbridge has plenty of happy numbers for us. When it comes to the risks? Well, that's none of our business.

Tell the MN Dept of Commerce it needs to be our business. The DEIS is an incomplete document until then. The deadline for public commentary is July 10. See these links for more info: or