This week I was in St. Paul with the Capital Investment Committee looking at bonding projects for the University of Minnesota, Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis. I also attended the Mille Lacs Lake Fishery Citizens Advisory/DNR Committee meeting at McQuoid’s Resort in Isle.
While both items are important, center stage this week was the administrative law hearing on Wednesday at the East Lake Community Center near McGregor. I attended and testified during the three-hour afternoon session.
In my testimony before Judge Ann O'Reilly I focused on public safety, I strongly objected to the Minnesota’s Department of Commerce and the Dayton Administration’s effort to shut down and not replace Enbridge Pipeline No. 3. That could lead to 10 high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains per day traveling directly through our communities here within the district.
I pointed out to Judge O’Reilly and the commerce department’s representative that their first duty is to protect the public safety. Continued delay in replacement of this aging pipeline disregards public safety and will increase the risk that members of the general public will be killed or injured by unnecessary forcing more high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains onto the rails.
Based on the Department of Commerce’s own findings in the 2,063-page Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), reduction or elimination of Line 3 could result in up to 10 high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains per day traveling directly through our small towns in Aitkin and Crow Wing County on the BNSF rail line.
That would expose our children in public school buildings at Aitkin and McGregor to the daily traffic of high-hazard flammable crude oil trains. Those trains would pass dangerously close to our court houses, city halls, county jails, assisted living centers, fire departments, nursing homes, hospitals, churches, residents and residential apartments in the cities of Deerwood, Aitkin, McGregor and Tamarack.
We will always move some hazardous materials by rail and our rail workers do a good job of doing that safely. However, I will not sit by and allow our state government to unnecessarily put the citizens of our district at risk by inviting 10 high-hazard flammable crude oil unit trains per day into our communities along the BNSF line.
You can find a copy of my written testimony at this link.