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Letter: With Line 3 protesters, there were more downs than ups

The social cost and long-term effects of the negative views developed toward each other during the protests are incalculable and will haunt us into the future.

Letter to the editor FSA
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Bennett Osmonson’s Jan. 29 letter accurately described the negative impacts of the Line 3 protesters (L3P) and I would add more. Their incendiary rhetoric, misinformation and illegal antics fueled the protest. Lead Line 3 protester Winona LaDuke described L3 as the ecological equivalent to Auschwitz and said Enbridge basically sucked our rivers and wetlands dry. That’s nonsense, but the L3P methods had their desired effect by pressuring President Biden to cancel the Keystone Pipeline and reduce US oil production, sending a message that all pipelines were at risk of being shut down. This resulted in oil companies cutting back on exploration/drilling and banks/financial institutions withholding funding.

As U.S. oil productions went down, demand increased, and oil prices skyrocketed. Now we need to import more oil from countries where it is less regulated and more environmentally dirty than oil produced in the US and it costs us more.

The negative impacts of President Biden’s decisions are increased cost of gas, heating, electricity, food and everything oil related. The actions of the L3P helped create these problems.

The negative impacts in Minnesota and North Dakota are more dramatic. In Minnesota the cost of local ongoing law enforcement and legal services will be borne mostly by the cities and counties, which means increased state/local taxes. In North Dakota, it’s worse, as oil companies feared President Biden would shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP), oil production decreased 20% from 2019 highs. The negative effects on cities, counties and Native Americans in western North Dakota have been dramatic. Oil tax revenues are down, meaning less funding for roads, bridges, education, infrastructure, social programs, and state/county/city/school district taxes are higher for nearly everyone. There is also less money going into the Legacy Fund, for our kids/grandkids’ futures. In North Dakota the costs of the DAP cleanup/law enforcement were over $45 million; in Minnesota the costs are ongoing.

The social cost and long-term effects of the negative views developed toward each other during the protests are incalculable and will haunt us into the future. Even LaDuke stated that it pitted neighbor against neighbor, tribe against tribe.

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Despite the L3P rhetoric about protecting our waters, saving the environment and claims of peaceful protests, their actions have had a very negative impact on everyone.

Dean Wieland, West Fargo

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