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Alternatives sought to fossil fuel extraction

In the May 22 issue of the Bemidji Pioneer, a letter titled "Needed pipeline followed all proper rules, permits," Denise Hamsher is identified as "Director Public, Federal and Regulatory Affairs." My first impression was, Wow! Why would a "governmental agency" be touting the wonders of the Canadian tar sands to that extent because most all of what I have heard has been bad news. Upon Googling her name, it appears that "for Enbridge Energy Company" was omitted from her full title (following "Affairs"). She is apparently top public communications/relations person exceptionale for Enbridge. No wonder it sounded so good.

Here in Minnesota, the new pipeline will parallel the old for the most part so I suppose that doesn't seem so disruptive but what is happening at the Canadian tar sands site is comparable to what is happening to the mountain top removal sites in Appalachia. The mineral resource is extracted; land is decimated; streams and water polluted and local communities left with the scars and health problems from the resource extraction.

Further, not unlike the wood fiber industry that threatens to close mills unless they have unrestricted access to the resource, Hamsher threatens the public with closing refineries and resulting in a less reliable crude supply.

What environmentally benign and Earth responsible solutions can we come up with (out of the box solutions) to maintain environmental integrity and still continue to feed the constant and growing demands of a growing world population? Are there alternatives?

Shirlee Maertens


EDITOR'S NOTE: The name of the company, Enbridge, was inadvertently omitted from Ms. Hamsher's title, and should have been included.