The Pioneer is filled with letters celebrating the economic windfall that they believe Line 3 is to the region. This celebration is part fantasy and part fleeting.
Where is the sustained economic value? Where are the Minnesota jobs? According to Enbridge’s own filing, 77% of the workers aren’t Minnesota residents -- a far cry from the promised 50%. These workers aren’t investing in our community and once their work is done, they will disappear along with all their transactions at local restaurants, convenience stores, hotels and laundromats.
It is a short-sighted view to believe that they are significantly impacting the long-term health of the region, they are only injecting fleeting amounts into the local economy. Don’t fool yourself, this isn’t a sustainable economic solution.
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Having spent my childhood summers at my grandparents in Bemidji, I know firsthand that what the region’s most important resource is its surroundings -- the pristine lakes and rivers and abundant wilderness. What is sustainable is the income the region gets from sportsmen and tourists. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that people value getting away into nature.
I can assure you that they won’t be coming to marvel at a pipeline. Nor will they be coming to marvel at the environmental disaster, however small. Sustainable revenue comes from repeat visitors not workers who disappear before the next season begins.
The reality is that the risk posed to the region’s economy from Line 3 is far greater than the fleeting reward generated by the influx of workers. Don’t be fooled by the shiny object in front of you. Just like the snow, it will melt soon enough.