The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission held a public hearing in St. Paul regarding the highly publicized Sandpiper Pipeline. The meeting provided the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed construction of the pipeline connecting the growing light crude oil supply in North Dakota to refining markets in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Sandpiper would run through new terminal facilities in Minnesota. Both supporters and opponents weighed in on what they thought of the Sandpiper Pipeline.
CFACT arrived early in order to engage the attendees and voice support for the project. We passed out fact sheets reminding both sides that pipeline is the safest, most efficient method for transporting oil — especially when compared to its alternative by rail. We came across some who opposed the pipeline and reluctantly accepted our fact sheets, but those who were supporters were happy to see us there.
At 2pm the meeting began and everyone took their seats to listen in on the comments. Supporters were articulate in their explanation on the dangers of continuing to transport oil by rail, and how the Sandpiper would create jobs and energy independence. Opponents were typically emotional and pushy, often ran over time, and made muddled claims of an impending global warming crisis. One in particular said she was speaking “on behalf of the animals” and all young people. Few facts or figures were shared by the critics, but rather exaggerated arguments that the pipeline would doom us all to an ecological Armageddon.
We were all glad to have attended the meeting, and will be standing by to find out whether or not the state’s “Certificate of Need” is met. Minnesota and neighboring states will benefit from increased tax revenue, employment, and safety if this is passed. The environmental impact would be minimal as 75% of the pipeline plan follows pre-existing transmission lines, and the remainder follows the shortest routes possible. The Sandpiper pipeline is both economically and environmentally sound. Let’s hope Minnesotans make the right choice.