WATERWORKS a column by Gordon Prickett for the 9/3/2014
Aitkin Independent Age
SIXTH GRADERS RETURN TO LONG LAKE
On Monday and Tuesday, September 15th and 16th, sixth graders across Aitkin County will again experience an Environmental Education Day at Long Lake Conservation Center, for the 20th time in as many years. Last year 127 students from Aitkin, Hill City, and McGregor schools spent the day at Long Lake Conservation Center. They enjoyed a hands-on lab experiment about Lake Bottom Organisms, presentations by the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota Zoo, and a unique presentation about Frogs and Toads in Minnesota. This special program serves to kickoff their year’s science education.
This Environmental Education Day is hosted by Aitkin County Environmental Services and the Long Lake Conservation Center with the help of donations from county lake associations. At this environmental gem in our county we are making a contribution for conservation, ecology, clean water, and habitat into the future.
DECISIONS ABOUT OIL AND WATER
There’s a new crude oil pipeline called Sandpiper that is being planned across Minnesota. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide sometime next year whether Enbridge Energy, a Canadian company, will be permitted to lay about 400 miles of pipe in Minnesota to move oil from North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. The first decision is whether this oil supply line is necessary, and the second decision is approval of the proposed route.
Sandpiper, as proposed, will cross 42 miles of Aitkin County. It will bring local jobs, lease payments to land owners, tax money to governments and schools, And the chance of oil spills and leaks into our habitat of lakes, woods, and wetlands. At this time there are alternate routes being considered that avoid Aitkin County. This light crude oil from the Bakken Formation is moving across the midwest now by rail to refineries and terminals.
Citizens are hearing from many voices about the benefits of a pipeline here, and what happens if it ruptures. I expect to hear much more before the questions are decided.