It is long past the appropriate time for us to have a civilized and respectful conversation around important big infrastructure and environmental projects in this state. We are seeing the very worst from folks from out of town threatening and vandalizing our communities as working women and men go to work each day to complete the Line 3 Replacement Project.

There was a lot to celebrate and cheer for this past week as even Minnesota’s court of appeals found that the Line 3 permits and certificate of need were affirmed. The Line 3 Replacement Project has proven, over and over again, that it will meet Minnesota’s aggressive environmental standards. The regulators have affirmed over and over. Now the courts have once again affirmed this project.

We know from Crookston’s hotels, restaurants and retailers that this project has been great for our region. We also know that, for the near term and longer, that transportation fuels are going to continue to move. It is far better for our communities to have those fuels moving safely in an upgraded pipe than the alternative. Farmers around here depend on our partnership with rail to move our commodities, and moving transportation fuels via pipeline will help make sure those rail cars are available to move crops.

Line 3 is nearly complete and our part of the state is going to reap the benefits for decades to come.

Let’s hope the small, remaining group of out-of-state protesters are more respectful to our communities and working women and men than what we’ve seen over the last few weeks. And let’s have a more respectful conversation moving forward on important projects like the Line 3 Replacement.

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Dustin Perry, Crookston, Minn.