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Letter: Sandpiper facts, responsibility and leadership

(This letter ran Aug. 13 and was inadvertently not posted to the website.)

First, I want to thank Greg Larson, Matt Dotta and Dan Stacey for their leadership in passing the Board Resolution on Aug. 5 that simply provided that the commissioners support the Friends of the Headwaters’ request to the Public Utilities Commission that it should consider a non-water route (a route to the west and south of Enbridge’s proposed route, which goes around the Hubbard County lakes, rivers, streams, wetland, watersheds, and aquifer) as a potential alternate route.

     I, along with many others, was shocked to learn at the meeting that the commissioners have some prior understanding among themselves that they are not going to take a position regarding the pipeline and they are going to let the PUC process decide for our county if there is a pipeline and, if so, where it will be located. Our commissioners are the elected officials that have the absolute duty and responsibility to protect the county’s assets. They do not have the right to delegate that responsibility to people and agencies sitting in St. Paul that don’t know one thing about what makes our county tick. The Sandpiper pipeline is the most critical issue for the county’s residents, seasonal property owners, businesses, tourists, local economy and our cherished water and other natural resources that belong to the entire state.

     I don’t know what has happened to our commissioners.  They have historically protected our water and other natural resources. It’s now time for the commissioners to void any prior understanding regarding remaining neutral and start protecting the county’s assets by learning the facts regarding the Sandpiper pipeline and its potential impact on the county and being prepared to get involved in the PUC process and, if necessary, take appropriate action to protect those assets. We need the commissioners’ leadership on this matter.

Chuck Diessner

Park Rapids