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Letter: More pipeline delays, more squandered opportunities

It seems one of the governor's first actions to stick it to the "rocks and cows" in greater Minnesota by putting the Line 3 replacement project back in court has succeeded in pushing back construction until at least 2020, according to a recent announcement by Enbridge.

This is disappointing, but in real terms it means at least one more year of delays, risking possible leakage or maybe even a rupture in the 50-year-old pipeline. It also means the loss of much-needed property tax revenue for counties — money that supports our schools, police forces, counties, townships and tribal services.

And it also means something that often gets overlooked in the discussion: Hundreds of jobs could be created in our area for a wide range of workers.

I have spoken with people from minority-run companies looking to hire a sizable share of minority employees, an influx of employment that would help people in our region.

Added to these are the employees hired directly by Enbridge. These jobs would be paying $3,000 to $4,000 per week. The local impact would be huge. Some of these counties have a median household income of $30,000 per year. The potential to make the equivalent of a year's wages in a couple of months has been delayed once again.

These companies have put off bidding on other jobs that now could be devastating for them and their employees. The training required would prepare folks for more jobs well beyond Line 3.

All this, for a pipeline replacement project that already has undergone years of intensive environmental review and exhaustive public discussion before now being fully permitted.

There is a perception Native Americans are united against the pipeline. This is a false narrative. I have visited with tribal members and know many who were counting on this opportunity. There is not an abundance of jobs in our region — and far fewer paying these high wages.

It's been said that "jobs don't generally come knocking on our door." Now, they have. The response from the governor and lieutenant governor is to bar the door. Even more sobering is their lack of understanding what these jobs could do for families looking to put food on the table.

There are hundreds of pipelines across the county. Let's not kill this project that would benefit so many. I urge the governor to drop this lawsuit so the Line 3 project can proceed. — Rep. Steve Green, Fosston