(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Citing both environmental and economic concerns, Minnesota’s Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan has expressed his opposition to the proposed route for the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline.
In a letter to the Environmental Manager of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, who is evaluating the project’s application, Rep. Nolan spoke of his ongoing concerns, as well as those of local residents, regarding the proposed route’s threat to environmentally sensitive areas of Minnesota. The current route requires the pipeline to cut through vulnerable northern wetlands, porous sandy soil and water tables used for drinking water, and some of the clearest lakes in the state.
“There’s no compelling reason why the Sandpiper pipeline can’t be rerouted to avoid environmentally fragile areas,” said Nolan. “From my meetings and communication with agencies and local advocacy groups, it’s clear there are several alternative routes out there that would take the pipeline south of this region, and thereby prevent a devastating ecological disaster in the event of a pipeline spill.”
“Our way of life is tied to water in Minnesota, and we can’t be in the business of disregarding the people who actually live near these lakes, rivers, and wetlands, or the sportfishermen, resort owners, and guides who assist tourists, or the small farmers who rely on healthy soil for their livelihood,” Nolan added.
“A pipeline spill in a region so dependent on outdoor recreation and tourism could have devastating economic consequences for years to come.”
Nolan went on to say that “provided they adhere to the strictest environmental, health, and safety standards, pipelines play an important role in reducing carbon emissions and boosting our American energy industry, but it is imperative that we not put our environment, economy, or residents at risk.” He concluded by saying he would continue to advocate for an alternative and less harmful route.
According to local assessments, the proposed Enbridge Sandpiper route would cross at least twenty-eight rivers, lakes, and wetlands that cannot be accessed from existing roads, making a clean-up operation in the event of a pipeline spill extraordinarily difficult and costly.
Rep. Nolan has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to reduce the likelihood of leaks and spills from pipelines built in the United States. The American Pipeline Jobs and Safety Act (H.R.4441) would require that virtually all pipelines built and federally permitted in the United States contain 100 percent American iron ore and steel – mined, processed, or reprocessed in America, which is more reliable and safer than foreign-made products.
Read the full text of the letter here.