Monday, February 12, 2007

This is our Powerline! MinnCan pipeline thoughts

Seems to me that the mainstream media have passed on this story. It would appear as though this story have not been covered since November!

According to MPIRG, the Public Utilities Commission will hear testimony tomorrow, Feb 13th, about the proposed pipeline.

Why do we need a new pipeline?

The MinnCan Project is a proposed $300 million crude oil pipeline built by the Minnesota Pipeline Company which is solely owned by Koch Oil. Koch Industries also owns and operates Flint Hills Resources, one of the two refineries south of the Twin Cities. Marathon Petroleum is the other refinery. This proposed project, if completed in 2008, would transport up to 165,000 barrels of crude oil per day at a pressure of 1462 pounds per square inch (psi) through a 24-inch pipe. 200 miles of the 300 mile project would be constructed through a new easement. This would affect thousands of Minnesota property owners, damage over 4000 acres of Minnesota forests, wetlands, agricultural and developed land, a Vietnam Veteran Memorial and 23 organic farms, including an organic dairy farm.

What could happen?

Pipeline construction involves a 100 foot construction right of way. The permanent easement is maintained at 50 feet. Construction will damage agricultural lands, clear-cut woodlands, and disrupt wetlands. Pipeline construction is exempt from compliance with the Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Act. The right of way will be maintained clear by cutting or with chemicals.

In the early 1980's Paul Wellstone co-wrote a book, with Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, titled 'Powerline: The First Battle of America's Energy War.' The book traced the frustrating, sometimes violent controversy that enveloped Minnesota's heartland over a seven-year period that pitted farmers against large corporate power companies and a government bureaucracy that tried to install a power line on the farmer's land.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is our Powerline.

It runs through hundreds of miles of farm land, nearly two dozen organic farms. In a time where we do not have a well defined energy policy, adding another pipeline is merely a bandaid solution. Instead of continuing our addiction to petroleum, which will be further fueled by another pipeline, we need to embrace renewable energy sources and other methods in our transition towards energy independence. Both Bush and Pawlenty have stated such in their "State of the ___" addresses.

We must reject these business practices. We must stand up and show policy makers and big business that clean air, clean water, and a sound energy policy, that places people over the profits of big polluters, is what we want.

Paul is gone, he can't bail us out on this one. We need to do this ourselves.

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