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The last big pipeline battle

Winona LaDuke

That is us, right here, right now. Sort of an epic moment, I would say, for the north country. Let me explain why Enbridge's proposed Line 3 through Minnesota is the last pipeline battle.

A few months ago there were four big pipelines proposed to bring Canada's tar sands out of that landlocked province of Alberta. Those pipelines were Enbridge's Line 3, the Keystone Pipeline, (which was miraculously resurrected by President Trump after laying in a grave for three years), Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia, and then Energy East—the longest pipeline from the Tar Sands to New Brunswick, at l,l00 miles. There was a lot of fanfare about how this was all fabulous for jobs.

Then the reality started to hit—culminating with the Oct. 5 announcement that TransCanada Corp. was scrapping its $15.7 billion Energy East Pipeline.

The pipeline had faced regulatory hurdles in Canada and stiff opposition from environmental groups and the province of Quebec, where the premier said that the line posed a significant risk to its freshwater resources.

Canadian oil economists point to economics—the decline of tar sands production and prices—as a significant part of why the project was cancelled, augmented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's' more stringent review of pipeline projects to include greenhouse gas emissions and downstream impacts.

TransCanada is also the proponent of the ill-fated Keystone Pipeline, which many have thought will face certain resurrection now in the face of the Trump Administration and the loss of Energy East. However, as Fox News reported in June: "Keystone XL is facing a new challenge: The oil producers and refiners the pipeline was originally meant to serve aren't interested in it anymore."

The company has no customers for the pipeline, and a pipeline without customers is not going to be built.

The smallest of the Tar Sands pipeline proposals, Kinder Morgan's TransMountain, is mired in legal battles with both the Province of British Columbia and First Nations there.

That leaves us.

Us and Enbridge.