To the editor:
In 2020, the world shut down due to the pandemic. While all industries struggled, the tourism industry in Northern Minnesota took an incredible hit, leaving great uncertainty as to what 2021 would bring.
Last year, from March to August, Minnesota lost an enormous $5 billion in tourism and travel spending largely impacting resorts, restaurants and small businesses in the northern part of the state that is typically buzzing during the summer months. We were faced with shuttered businesses, lost jobs and a crippled economy with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Thankfully, in December, construction began on the Line 3 pipeline project, bringing more than 5,000 workers to construction sites throughout the 14 counties along the pipeline route. This much-needed project has revitalized towns and communities that were decimated by the pandemic.
It is disappointing to see the senseless opposition and pushback on this project by groups who apparently would rather have our economy dry up and our workers be unemployed. They fail to see the economic benefit, but also the safety component that the Line 3 project brings to our state.
If the pipeline protesters had their way, the pipeline would remain untouched, posing great risk to our environment while forcing thousands of trucks or hundreds of trains to transport oil instead. Simply put: pipelines are the safest way to move oil, and the Line 3 project is one of need, not want.
Now, as construction on Line 3 is more than 60% complete and as we are well into the summer months, our tourism industry is booming again. We are grateful for the Line 3 pipeline project that helped small businesses across our region keep their lights on during the winter to be able to serve the families visiting during the summer.