This is State Representative Steve Green. I serve District 2B, which includes all the White Earth Indian Reservation, of which I am a member.
I am speaking in favor of the replacement of this 60-year old line. It is time to move along with this process as a whole. This replacement is long overdue. Many of our small communities are concerned with the over stressed railroads that run through their communities, in some cases every 20 minutes. The MPCA has been informed of the danger of both the old line and rails.
Enbridge has employed trained Native Americans checking for culturally sensitive sites. They literally walked the area where the pipeline will go. All concerns have been answered many times. An added benefit of this line includes many high-paying jobs that will pay more in mere months than the average yearly wage in some of our counties. There are Indian-owned minority businesses waiting to fulfill contracts they have been awarded. This means hundreds of families, including many Native Americans, that will receive training that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. They are waiting to get to work.
There is no reason to delay this line any longer. Nearly five years of scrutiny have shown this is the safest way to move these resources. I appreciate the opportunity to comment. Thank you, and let’s get this done.