If presented an opportunity to help the environment, wouldn’t you think most people would jump at the opportunity to do so? Minnesotans love nature, we love the beauty of the Boundary Waters, the breath taking vistas of the North Shore, and the crystal clear waters of our lakes. Protecting these natural gifts is important to everyone one in the state.
So why is a project that could help protect the environment being sidelined? Sadly, this is what is happening to the Sandpiper Oil Pipeline. This pipeline, which runs across Northern Minnesota and ends in Superior Wisconsin, presents a safe way to move the large amounts of Bakken oil currently moving through Minnesota.
Right now that oil is being moved by train across the state, often through major population centers like the Twin Cities. As more oil is moved by rail, the chance for a devastating oil spill, like the one that happened in Megantic Quebec and killed 47 people, increase here in Minnesota.
In addition to protecting the environment, the Sandpiper Pipeline presents an economic opportunity for the state of Minnesota. It will create new jobs and alleviate the difficulty facing Minnesota farmers and miners in getting their goods to market.
So who could be standing against this project? Who would be against protecting the environment and growing Minnesota’s economy? The answer is simple: follow the money. CFACT has discovered that two of the major groups opposing the Sandpiper Pipeline are being funded by money that originates from Warren Buffett.
These groups, Honor the Earth and the Indigenous Environmental Network, have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Tides Foundation, which in turn receives millions from Warren Buffett. Despite trying to appear like a grass roots organizations that relies on local students, hikers, and activists, these groups receive almost all of their money from out of state sources, like the Tides Foundation.
This begs a second question: why would Warren Buffet want to stop the pipeline? The reason becomes apparent when you look at the companies Buffett owns. He owns the BNSF railway, which has been making him millions by moving Bakken Oil out of North Dakota. Buffett isn’t trying to protect the environment; he is trying to protect his bottom line by stifling competition. If oil can be moved safely by rail, CFACT doesn’t have a problem with it, but right now pipelines are the safer option for the environment.
This is the message CFACT wanted to spread at our University of Minnesota protest. Pipelines are the safest way to move oil, and it is important to know all the facts about the Sandpiper Project, including the motivation behind some of the opposition. Students from the University of Minnesota and University of Saint Thomas took part in our protest to show support for the Sandpiper Pipeline and stand against “Buffett’s Puppets,” who were having their own event at the University of Minnesota.
One student, when confronted by an opponent of the pipeline said, “we do care about the environment, it is actually really important to us, and that is why I support the pipeline. The question we are facing today is not whether or not we should use fossil fuels, but how to use them and move them the safest way possible. We are going to be using fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, and pipelines are the best way to move oil across the country.”
This sentiment was echoed by the rest of the CFACT students with University of Minnesota sophomore John Mickley saying, “good intentions aren’t enough, it is results that matter. And I can tell you this: if we continue to move more and more oil by rail the results aren’t going to be good. That is why building this pipeline is so important, and it is stupid Buffett is using his money to prop up groups to oppose it.”
This was a big event, we even made it on the news! A news crew for From Fox 9 News stopped by to talk to us about why we are supporting the Sandpiper Pipeline. We happily shared with them that moving oil by pipeline is safer than rail, and pointed out that if we are going to continue to move oil in Minnesota, we should do it in the safest way possible. Be sure to watch the news story for yourself!
Don’t be taken for a ride on Buffett’s railroad, know the facts. Don’t let “Buffett’s Puppets” take advantage of the good intentions of unsuspecting Minnesotans and stop the Sandpiper project, which could put Minnesota’s environmental future at risk. CFACT will continue to protecting the environment, and spread the truth about the importance of pipelines.