Enbridge lists benefits that will accrue from its replacement line 3 in Minnesota and it guarantees that the old line will be safely “deactivated.” What does this mean to Minnesota once the new pipeline is installed and Canadian tar sands oil is flowing through the heart of our 10,000 lakes?
First of all, the old pipeline will be “cleaned-out” using a “biocide treatment” in the deactivation process and left in place.
The proposed new pipeline would use the power of eminent domain to run its pipeline, potentially transporting 760,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil per day across three watersheds and many tribal communities and over pristine waters in Minnesota. Line 3 will go through 1855 treaty land, where native people have the right to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony; and it will travel through wild rice wetlands that have been a primary economic, nutritional, cultural and spiritual resource. It will be buried in permeable soil in a water dependent ecosystem and when a spill occurs it will be impossible to clean up.
This new pipeline will replace existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe and run 337 miles in Minnesota alone. It is the largest project in Enbridge history with construction expected to begin early in 2019 with an anticipated in-service date in the second half of 2019.
From Enbridge’s outlook, money and prosperity will be had for those in line of this pipeline. They say 8,600 jobs will be created over a two year period. This contrasts markedly with the 20 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built. They say it will be a boost to the Minnesota economy, during design and construction. Enbridge indicates that over $115 million in payroll will be paid to local workers and there will be other benefits in the process including an increase in property tax revenue etc.
What will be the price for these estimated, promised, “forward thinking” and temporary financial benefits to the local economy of Minnesota? Can it be measured?
The route for Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline, as proposed and approved, will cross 12 Minnesota counties:
Line 3 will travel through Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk, Clearwater, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Carlton counties in Minnesota. Line 3 will enter Minnesota by crossing the Red River entering Kittson and then move into Marshall County where it will cross the Tamarac River, Middle River and the Snake before entering Pennington County, where it will cross the Red Lake River. At this point it will move into Red Lake County where it will cross the Clearwater River before going into Polk County crossing at State Ditch Sixty One. With more tributaries to cross Line 3 will be heading into Clearwater County where it will cross, among others, Lost River, Silver Creek, West Four Legged Lake, the Mississippi River in Bear Creek Township and La Salle Creek in Itasca State Park. At this point, it will move through Paul Bunyan State Forest and south past many lakes and over the Straight River out of Park Rapids, over the Shell River and then in an easterly direction over Crow Wing River, then south into Wadena County and Huntersville State Forest where it will cross the Shell River again and the Crow Wing River within Huntersville State Forest. Once leaving Wadena, the line 3 pipeline will move through Cass County south of the Leech Lake Reservation through more water dependent areas, over Pine River and into Crow Wing County’s upper NW corner, at which point it reenters Cass County crossing water features and tributaries again before entering Aitkin County where it will cross the Mississippi once more, among others like the Sandy River, Willow River, a portion of the Mille Lacs Reservation, before moving into Carlton County. Once in Carlton County, Enbridge’s tar sands oil pipeline 3 will cross the West Branch of the Kettle River, Heikkila Creek, Kettle River, on the southerly border of Fond du Lac State Forest, the West Fork Moose Horn River, King Creek and Park Lake Creek. At the last leg of its journey through our land of 10,000 lakes, it will straddle the Willard Munger State Trail before crossing Highway 35, then south of Jay Cooke State Park and the St Louis River toward Superior in Douglas County, Wisconsin.
What could go wrong?