For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520
Thank you to all those who attended the meeting in Bemidji last night to discuss the proposed replacement of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. Public discussions are very important to the process of determining our next steps and the wide range of opinions that were shared will be helpful.
I spoke at the meeting to request that the Enbridge certificate of need be approved and the Line 3 replacement project be allowed to proceed. With the current Line 3 running at a reduced capacity due to age, it is critical that this line be deactivated and replaced not only for safety reasons, but also to address the growing demand for oil. As I outlined in my testimony, the benefits of this project will be seen in four major areas:
This will significantly reduce the amount of oil that is currently transported by rail, currently tying up this resource and increasing the cost of other goods normally transported by rail. Items such as grain, chemicals and other items of trade.
It also will bring a privately funded, multi-billion dollar project to our region. This will bring high-paying jobs such as welders and heavy-equipment operators to our region – which is desperately in need of jobs. It has been said, by critics of this project, that these jobs should not be considered as a benefit due to the fact that they are temporary jobs and really don’t provide a long-term benefit to the area. These types of trades are by default temporary; once something is built the job is done. Would they consider other construction jobs not a long-term benefit to the area? I would ask these critics to talk people in these trades and ask them if they feel that this type of job brings benefit to our local community. Outside of the obvious employment benefits one cannot discount the numerous ancillary financial benefits to the local economies, such as grocery stores gas station and other support businesses. Again I want to stress that this is a PRIVATELY FUNDED project.
This project will deliver millions of dollars of tax revenue to counties. This revenue will assist with critical county functions and help keep property taxes to the local citizens lower.
The final benefit that I addressed is safety. As I have stated earlier, with the reduced capacity of the current Line 3 and the growing demand for and supply of oil, the rail system is being stretched to its limit and being asked to pick up the slack. Not only are rail systems an open target for hostile actors bent on causing havoc in our country, they also are open to non-hostile accidents such as derailments and automobile and train collisions. Pipelines are by far the safest and most efficient means of transporting oil we have today.
In closing, I stressed to meeting attendees that this project has the support of refiners, communities and landowners, labor and elected officials such as myself, and is essential to helping ensure Minnesota families and businesses have reliable access to affordable energy and supporting the economy.
Thanks again to all who attended last night’s meeting and I will keep you in the loop with further developments.
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