As a former legislator who always tried to represent the great people here in northern Minnesota well, it saddened me to see a group of former colleagues, most of them from the Twin Cities, participate in a one-sided meeting up here showing their opposition to the Line 3 replacement which is well underway in our communities.
They hope the president will cancel Line 3 and by default the union jobs over 5,000 skilled women and men are engaged in.
Minnesota has some of the most challenging environmental permitting in the world. Some would argue that it is excessive. Perhaps that is why the Line 3 replacement in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin are already near completion and Minnesota is just getting underway.
Regardless, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have all studied the science behind the Line 3 replacement and all (some of them several times) placed their stamps of approval and permits on the need for this maintenance driven project.
We all know that a line developed with thicker pipe and 2021 technology is better and safer than the technology allowed 60 years ago. We also know that these critical resources are going to continue to move if this pipeline isn’t replaced.
The alternative is moving it on rail or truck, which is considerably less safe. Even the legislators who drove up here traveled in gas powered vehicles.
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Science has prevailed, and union workers are in our communities building what is one of the most significant private investments in decades. Hearing store and restaurant owners exclaim “Go Line 3!” as workers shop, eat and stay locally has been an amazing boost for our economy.
For a small group of protesters to ignore the science, and physically threaten working women and men on the worksite each day is shocking.
For legislators, and a member of congress, to ignore the science and condone this behavior is reprehensible.
Imagine if school teachers or nurses, licensed and approved by state regulators were spit on and threatened as they left their places of work. There would, of course, be outrage. We should exhibit respect for the women and men constructing the Line 3 replacement, and they should feel safe in our communities.
We are better than what we’re seeing. We are bigger than that. I hope our “leaders” and others coming to town will show that going forward.
Doug Lindgren, Bagley, is a former Minnesota House Rep. for District 2B.