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Our use of petroleum is not a reason to support Line 3

Not all petroleum products and fuels are created equally. The production of oil from tar sands releases three times more air pollution as conventional crude oil. And pipelines leak.

Tom Burford’s Community Voices commentary from July 7, “Think about all the ways we use petroleum every day,” really stands out — for its logical fallacy. Yes, many common products are made from petroleum. That’s not a reason for Minnesotans to support Enbridge’s Line 3 project.

Not all petroleum products and fuels are created equally. The production of oil from tar sands releases three times more air pollution as conventional crude oil. It also requires more water and produces more toxic waste.

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And pipelines leak. In 2010, another one of Enbridge Energy’s tar sands pipelines ruptured. A million gallons of dirty oil leaked into the Kalamazoo River. Attempts to clean up this one incident have cost more than a billion dollars. The river is still contaminated.

Imagine if that happens again, to the Missisippi. We are already in a serious drought. A spill from Line 3 could contaminate the water that millions of us use at home. At even higher risk is the food supply for northern Minnesota’s rural communities.

We are taking on the risks of this pipeline while foreign companies make most of the money.

Even if you support the pipeline, you should be concerned by the brutal tactics that police (paid in part by Enbridge) are right now using against American citizens. These have included the use of tear gas, pepper spray and rubber-coated bullets.

Whether we agree or disagree, we all have a First Amendment right to have our voices heard. As it says in the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That stands, whether or not we also use petroleum products.

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