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Letter to Editor: Proposed pipeline jeopardizes state's cleanest waters

The Minnesota Department of Commerce and Public Utilities Commission are currently evaluating whether to allow Enbridge to construct a new pipeline called Line 3 in northern Minnesota. This pipeline would carry a huge volume of Alberta tar sands oil from the Canadian border to Superior, Wisc., eventually ending up at Gulf of Mexico refineries to be shipped overseas.

The PUC has to decide whether an extensive Environmental Impact Statement is complete and valid, and then decide whether the pipeline is really needed and, if needed, where it should be placed.

The route Enbridge wants is through some of the cleanest waters of the state, waters that would be irreparably harmed by leaks of this toxic tar sands combination — bitumen that is diluted with other oil including benzene, a carcinogen. Leaks include undetectable pinhole leaks that pollute slowly and insidiously. It seems foolish to jeopardize these waters with toxic oil that is questionably needed.

Tar sands oil is particularly bad for releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change. A warming climate damages our forests and lakes. Clean energy technology is rapidly advancing and becoming cheaper as well as providing many new jobs that can replace jobs in the oil and pipeline industries while helping to keep climate change at bay.

Minnesota and the U.S. in general is experiencing a decline in demand for oil for a variety of reasons. The Certificate of Need is supposed to consider the interests of the state, not the need of oil companies' profits (Final EIS executive summary page 3).

Why not look to the future, you decision makers on the PUC, and embrace clean energy rather than approve toxic oil pipelines in locations that could harm our precious water resources? Follow the old adage in medicine: "First, do no harm."

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