Public hearings are this afternoon (1-4pm) and tonight in Saint Paul on Enbridge’s controversial plan to upgrade its “Line 3″ pipeline through northern Minnesota. Native Americans warn it threatens traditional wild-ricing lakes. Red Lake Nation member Mysti Babineau says,”That’s a highly sacred food to us. Our people look forward to going to harvest every year. I mean, it’s a big deal.” Nancy Norr with the group Jobs for Minnesotans responds routes have been chosen to minimize potential impacts, and notes the project has a potential two-billion-dollar benefit to Minnesota “with over 21-hundred jobs created for our building trades and construction.” The state Commerce Department says the pipeline isn’t necessary. Republicans accuse the Dayton administration of playing politics with the issue.
Norr argues upgrading “Line 3” is environmentally more responsible than shipping the oil by train. She says, “This is the safest way for us to make sure that we have the energy that fuels our lives and… our economy.” Babineau responds it’s actually safer to transport oil by rail because pipelines were excluded from some new regulations. “By rail is the lesser of two evils ’cause at least you know how much oil spillt, and you tend to know a little sooner when it spilled,” she says.