Construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project has been underway for nearly two months, and the benefits for the workers and towns like mine have been high.

While we are grateful that this important project is underway, I am concerned about the opponents of this project who keep protesting at construction sites along the pipeline route.

Some protestors have put themselves in dangerous situations, trespassing on parts of the project that are unstable and even requiring emergency help to get out. Emergency help that is then unavailable for other Minnesotans potentially in need.

Other protestors have damaged equipment, berated construction workers and delayed progress on the pipeline. Dozens have been arrested, again calling police officers off patrol and requiring their attention.

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Disrupting our emergency services and potentially putting lives at risk is not the way to enact change. What if there is a fire, a car accident, or a violent crime that cannot be attended to because officers, EMTs or fire departments have been called to the scene of yet another protest?

I will acknowledge that there are many opponents who do indeed act respectfully while making their voices heard. The bigger challenge is to make sure we all work to come back to a respectful place when it comes to this pipeline.

For those opponents wishing to protest, please do so safely and ensure our emergency workers can focus their attention on issues of true emergency.

No one deserves to be put at risk because of a protest.

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