WATERWORKS by Gordon Prickett
A Column for the 7/2/2014 Aitkin Independent Age
ENBRIDGE ENERGY CROSSING MINNESOTA
As I mentioned in my columns in March and April there is a crude oil pipeline proposed to carry oil from the Bakken oilfield in North Dakota over a new route across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin. This is a project of Enbridge Energy, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and it is known as the Sandpiper Pipeline Project.
At the Rivers and Lakes Fair in Aitkin June 14th I sketched the 42-mile proposed Sandpiper route across our large ACLARA county map which displays our 20 member lakes. From west to east the corridor passes through these townships: Lemay, Macville, Bain, Waukenabo, Logan, Workman, Jevne, McGregor, Spalding, and Salo. There was considerable interest and discussion at the fair about Sandpiper Pipeline. Six public information meetings were held in March at the Minnesota counties along this route. The period for comment has concluded. Public hearings will be held before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission reaches its decision about the need for this pipeline and a final route.
COMMENT TO DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Following my attendance and testimony at the McGregor information meeting March 13, I wrote a letter to Larry Hartman, Environmental Review Manager, Department of Commerce, who chaired the meeting. These are some of my statements:
“I have serious reservations about the history of Lakehead Pipeline and the renamed Enbridge parent company. Their pipeline spills and cleanup attempts in recent years have left the environment of the Upper Midwest in damaged condition.”
“Aitkin County is a global bird watchers destination. We have many clean lakes and rivers that attract families looking for recreational beauty. We also have developed a thriving sustainable forest products industry. This scenic county is threatened by a future of crude oil pipelines operated by companies with a record of accidental leaks and spills.”
“Installing a pipeline and operating it here in Aitkin County, crossing the Mississippi River and passing through rich wetlands habitat and woodlands will greatly disturb wildlife and people living here.”
No matter what you may have heard, this is not a “done deal.” Domestic oil will be transported across the Midwest by trucks, railcars, and pipelines to terminals, tank farms, and refineries. In Minnesota there are two refineries - at St. Paul Park and at Rosemount. We need petroleum fuels. But managing this transport in the safest possible manner is a challenge for all levels of government. I urge our citizens to pay close attention to what has been proposed for Aitkin County. Your voice matters.