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<p>To the editor:</p>:Minnesotans should fear new oil pipeline

To the editor: Nobody disputes that economic development is important to our communities. But, we do not have to compromise a safe environment for our children, grandchildren and future generations to ensure economic development. Enbridge is prop...

To the editor:

Nobody disputes that economic development is important to our communities. But, we do not have to compromise a safe environment for our children, grandchildren and future generations to ensure economic development.

Enbridge is proposing a new oil pipeline that would run through Minnesota, including the headwaters of the Mississippi, Native American ricing lands, the Red River, Lake Superior watersheds, pristine lake country, 192 surface waters and hundreds of wetland acres.

We should be concerned.

Here is just a partial list of prior Enbridge pipeline spills. In 2002 in Cohasset, Minnesota, 250,000 gallons of crude oil spilled, causing long-term damage to wetlands, vegetation and wildlife habitats.

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In Superior, Wisconsin, in 2003, 19,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Nemadji River, which feeds into Lake Superior. That same year, over 100,000 gallons spilled 2 miles from Lake Superior, near the company's terminal.

In 2008, Enbridge was fined $1 million for 100 environmental violations across 320 miles of Wisconsin pipeline. Violations included illegal clearing and disrupting of wooded wetlands and degrading property.

Even worse, in 2010, Enbridge took 17 hours to recognize a disastrous leak in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The spill resulted in 1.2 million gallons of released crude oil - one of the largest inland oil spills ever in the United States. Cleanup of the Kalamazoo River took six years, cost $1.2 billion and resulted in a $177 million settlement. Between the years 1999 and 2014, 9,423,708 gallons have spilled in the United States and Canada.

This partial list of spills should alarm Minnesotans. In November, the Commerce Department released a report stating that the pipeline was unnecessary, and the pipes Enbridge proposed were of insufficient thickness and required improved monitoring.

Enbridge chooses not to discuss how many permanent Minnesota jobs the pipeline will produce. If we want to increase the number of permanent energy jobs, we must look to the fast-growing wind and solar industries. We can maintain a safe environment for future generations and grow the economy. Minnesotans can do this by choosing energy sources of the future economy, not the past economy.

Peggy Maki

Cloquet

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