After constantly seeing Enbridge’s big, misleading color ads in local newspapers, a few basic points return to mind regarding pipelines like Line 3.

• Pipelines leak, like Enbridge’s Line 6 did in 2010 Kalamazoo, Michigan. 1,000,000 gallons, $1,400,000,000 to “clean up.” Don’t forget Grand Rapids, Minn., 1,700,000 gallons there in 1991.

• Pipelines require the use of private lands, willing or not, in this case even treaty protected tribal lands. Tribal inclusion — my foot.

• There is never just one pipeline, there are now six in the corridor that passes by Cass Lake, one is actually exposed so anyone can see.

• Permits for pipelines are influenced by politicians who often accept the political campaign funding offered by companies like Enbridge. Regulatory agencies know their legislature-controlled budgets are on the line if they interfere in funder’s projects.

Industry having remote control of government agencies in this manner is known as “regulatory capture,” and, sadly, this is now fairly common in Minnesota. If you’d like to tell Gov. Walz (651-201-3400) or MPCA Commissioner Bishop (651-757-2014) the gig is up, please do.

• The demand for oil (and pipelines) is falling. America is swimming in domestic crude and is set to again be the world’s leading producer of crude oil. Canada, the nation that would send low grade tar sands produced by strip mining to our country, is the leading importer of American oil. Sounds crazy, right? It only makes sense if you know Canadian oil interests really have only one option for market — that is the refineries in America that can handle the low grade tar sand, and Koch Industries gets it on the cheap because they really do have the Canadians “over the barrel.”

Rather than an economic boost for MN, Line 3 is an economic boost for corporations like Koch Industries, with MN set to hold all the liability.

• Burning oil, gas or coal creates air we shouldn’t breathe, and many of our lakes are now mercury impaired because of this burning. MPCA’s Impaired Waters List now includes Leech, Winnie, Ten Mile, Whitefish, Wabedo, Webb, Little Boy, and more (over 3.5 million acres of Minnesota water in total) as mercury impaired. Fish dinner, anyone?

• Big energy companies are investing in renewable energy operations hand over fist. Why? Because they know where the next big move is going to take place. Will oil still be important? Yes, but only diminishingly so, as one stays riding a tired horse until a fresh one is available.

Trying to hang on to the mindset of the last industrial revolution will keep us spending money on things that are breaking us; dealing with health effects, environmental effects, energy dependence, machine maintenance, and bureaucracy. Holding onto the last industrial revolution will keep us from leading the next.

Mike Tauber



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