LETTER: New tar sands pipeline is an unnecessary risk

Letters to the Editor stock image

Tim Flathers of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) wants you to believe short-term economic benefits of building a tar sands crude oil pipeline through our region outweigh its long-term environmental and economic threats.

Don’t buy it.

Big changes abound, and they aren't good for tar sands oils or the fossil fuel industry in general. Gas and oil projects are cancelling or delayed while North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields have 791 abandoned wells (those not producing for at least a year).

Powerhouses Chevron, BP and Shell are writing down assets because of oil price drops. Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy. Exxon says 20 percent of its assets will be stranded if things don’t improve soon.

As tar sands oil, the least profitable and dirtiest of oils, is being abandoned first, there is no need for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3, which could leave us with a partially built, stranded asset mid-project. Another taxpayer burden?


Instead, we should seek sustainable solutions here, where three biomes converge producing unique biodiversity that yields rich food production, bountiful tourism and a beautiful place to live. Our community and local industries depend on our natural infrastructure.

Why not create capital sources for local entrepreneurs struggling to secure financing? Or local markets where our kids can learn economics and civic engagement? Or promoting networks connecting people with safe day-care during the pandemic? Opportunities abound as COVID-19 makes clear a new economy for living, working and educating.

HRDC’s website says it exists “to help our communities, and our region as a whole, be successful.” Flanthers talks “jobs” and “private money,” but fails to mention the risks and costs of Line 3 – risks to the environment and biodiversity that support our region’s success.

In contradiction of now familiar COVID-19 stats, we find that new pipelines carry more risk than old, according to Pipelines over 60 years old accounted for less than 13 percent of the pipeline incidents from 2010-2018, while pipelines under 20 years old were responsible for over 50 percent of the incidents.

A new tar sands pipeline is far more dangerous and costly than Enbridge would like us all to believe.

The data says older pipelines are a safer bet. Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 is an unnecessary risk for local families, farms, wild rice lakes and businesses, not to mention our regional jewels – Itasca State Park, LaSalle Lake State Recreational Area and maybe even your favorite lake, creek or trout stream?

What To Read Next
Get Local