Provided something dramatic has not happened, oil is flowing through the Enbridge company’s new Line 3 pipeline.
According to reports earlier this week, the actual movement of oil was scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 1, ending more than 10 months of construction through northern Minnesota.
And what a 10 months it’s been. It’s been a span of contentious meetings, protests and news coverage as construction crews have wound their way across 340 miles of mostly rural portions of the state.
As reported earlier this week by Forum News Service, the Minnesota segment is the last portion of the 1,000-mile line that stretches from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. It is expected to transport nearly 32 million gallons of oil per day.
Importantly, the new Line 3 simply replaces an older version of the pipeline.
In the years before construction began across Minnesota, trouble percolated around the project. Line 3 passes through environmentally sensitive areas, drawing criticism from American Indian tribes and others. Protests before and during its construction were common.
Line 3 also has become the latest focus of climate change concerns. Although literally thousands upon thousands of miles of oil pipelines already exist and are in use in the nation, the newest always seems to draw the most criticism.
We have backed Line 3 throughout the process because we believe pipelines are the most efficient way to transport oil, and also because oil still is — at least for the time being — driving the nation’s, and the state’s, economy.
As we wrote in the past: “Considering the number of pipelines already in the ground in the United States, it’s ridiculous to think stopping one will make much of a difference. It’s like a single ladle of water from a full well.”
Meanwhile, the science behind climate change is too hard to deny. It’s just too warm in places where it’s not supposed to be. And we do appreciate any peaceful — with an emphasis on peaceful — protests that were made over Line 3. These are people who care about the land, about the environment and about the future. FNS reported last week that opponents of Line 3 have vowed to continue fighting Line 3, even after its completion. Hopefully, they won’t.
So many others are behind the project, and they deserve their say, too. County commissions, city councils, mayors and business owners all backed it. The Herald and other newspapers in the region were saturated with letters of support. Far more letters supporting Line 3 came in than letters against it.
Line 3 passed its regulatory hurdles and years of scrutiny before a single shovel broke Minnesota soil. It created thousands of jobs and will generate taxes for years to come in the counties through which it passes.
Line 3 is in the ground and pumping oil, as it’s intended to do. That’s good.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Grand Forks Herald.