The May 30 letter, “Line 3 is a bad investment for Minnesota,” shows a lack of awareness about the project, Minnesota’s energy needs, our usage of petroleum, and the state of energy technology for the foreseeable future.
Let’s get things straight. Minnesotans are not making the investment -- Enbridge is. Line 3 is a $2.6 billion private investment in Minnesota that creates a benefit for taxpayers without using our money. Enbridge will pay for a project that will create 4,200 family sustaining construction jobs -- and another 4,000 in spinoff jobs to support construction.
The author suggests that Line 3 is not needed: “Tell them we need nuclear power plants, solar panels and wind turbines. All of which are underutilized and are reasonable means of energy production even in northern Minnesota.”
I’m not aware of technology today that will power cars and airplanes with energy from nuclear or wind. What about the over 6,000 products that are made from petroleum that we use every day?
It’s extremely easy to say the United States needs to move on from oil -- while not proposing any viable solutions to replace it. Solar and wind power is unreliable at the scale we need it, takes up far more land, and is expensive. While many would like to expand the use of nuclear power, it has been deemed unsafe and opposed by the same people who are claiming that renewable energy is better than oil.
The reality is that we need the oil from infrastructure like Line 3 as we make the eventual transition to renewable energy. Without it our society doesn’t work. Without it, millions of people lose their only real mode of transportation which are the cars and trucks they use for the family or as part of their jobs.
Line 3 supplies most of the oil Minnesota refines to create the gas diesel and jet fuel we will continue to need and use. Keeping that supply will be key to this success. The demand and need for oil isn’t going away anytime soon. We also can’t ignore that if it isn’t transported by Line 3, it will just move through less safe methods such as trains.
Pretending that our society is ready and able to replace the fuel and petroleum products from Line 3 with fantasy technology that doesn’t yet exist is not helpful.
Jim Lucachick, Bemidji, is a Beltrami County Commissioner.