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Proposed pipeline puts Red River at risk

RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — Recently the Herald reported that Enbridge conducted a spill drill at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks (“Enbridge runs through spill drill,” Page A1, Feb. 7).

The worst-case scenario and emergency response that followed played out at the tabletop discussion attended by emergency responders, public officials and landowners.

The proposed Sandpiper Pipeline crosses under the Red River south of Grand Forks on its route from Tioga, N.D., to (ultimately) Superior, Wis.

Since the 2010 pipeline rupture in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, Enbridge has stepped up its public relations campaign. That rupture spewed a million gallons into the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek, soiled 35 miles of wetlands and waterways and sickened 320 people.

In addition, more than 3,000 turtles, 170 birds and nearly 40 mammals were recovered in the spill.

And some 3½ years later the Kalamazoo spill clean-up is not completed. The EPA gave Enbridge to Dec. 31, 2013, to remove up to 18,000 gallons of submerged oil. Enbridge said in December that it could not meet the deadline but could complete the work by October 2014.

At $1 billion, the spill is the costliest onshore clean-up in U.S. history.

According to Polaris Institute, Enbridge’s sordid history includes some 804 spills that took place on Enbridge pipelines from 1999 to 2010. These spills released about 161,000 barrels of crude oil into the environment.

With 2.5 million miles of pipeline running through this country, accidents even with the best oversight and planning will occur. There is no comfort, only fear about the Sandpiper project putting a pipeline under the Red River south of Grand Forks.

We are frightfully addicted to fossil fuels. It wasn’t too long ago that renewables were the theme and goal for our energy needs. Now, because of fracking, that attention to renewables has all but gone away.

The Oil Patch is celebrated as a virtual godsend by politicians and corporate profiteers.

Addiction destroys lives. And in the case of the fossil fuel obsession, it is literally destroying nature — the land, air, water and so many of nature’s creatures, as well as a way of life so many of us have valued.

Corporations, even though they have legal personhood, are not people. Profits and damage control are their concern.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is a holding a public hearing on Enbridge’s proposal at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the UND School of Law. I invite Herald readers to attend and join with others who oppose yet another reckless pipeline.

Chuck Goyette