As construction plans for a pipeline project are underway in Northern Minnesota, many residents—especially those living on the proposed route—have little information and many concerns. But the Park Rapids Area League of Women Voters has come to the rescue as they hosted a public panel discussion to give preliminary information and address those concerns.
It was a full house Tuesday night at Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids, as residents from all over Minnesota wanted to know more information about the Sandpiper Pipeline Project.
Enbridge Pipelines, also known as the North Dakota Pipeline Company, will be heading construction and plans to run a 610-mile pipeline from Tioga, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. The proposal is to use the Southern Route that runs near Park Rapids. Enbridge says the Southern Route is less populated and crews will be able to avoid winter construction.
But those in opposition of the plan say it’s because the authorities from the Native American Reservations have halted plans for a Northern Route. Enbridge says it will install the new pipeline next to existing pipeline corridors in Northern Minnesota; however, some are worried that land value near these pipelines will decrease.
The Sandpiper Pipeline will be delivering crude oil to refineries in the Midwest in hopes to provide a stable source of fuel and to reduce reliance on imports.
Winona LaDuke, director of Honor the Earth and a Rural Development economist, explains that the Sandpiper Pipeline is a short-term solution for energy independence, and will only meet the needs of the USA for about six months.
Enbridge plans to start construction near the end of this year, but it’s still a long ways to go as applications for permits and an environmental impact assessment have not yet been made. The next meeting will be one of Enbridge’s first public information hearings in March.