Once again the people of Minnesota are going to have to band together to fight the power companies. In the 1970s Minnesota farmers fought the United Power Association and the Cooperative Power Association; today landowners will have to fight the Minnesota Pipeline Co.
The Minnesota Pipeline Co., owned by Koch Industries, has filed a request to build a 300-mile crude oil pipeline system through Stearns, Meeker, Wright, Dakota, Scott, McLeod and Sibley counties. Like the power line of the 1970s, the $300 million MinnCan Project pipeline cuts through farmers’ fields and through residential areas. A book could be written about how bad a deal the Minnesota Pipeline Co. is giving farmers and landowners on the proposed pipeline corridor. The fight is bigger, however, than a billion-dollar corporation trying to stomp on the rights of rural citizens. The fight is about the direction of Minnesota’s energy future.
The MinnCan Project needs to be rejected not only on the grounds that it tramples on the rights of landowners but also that the pipeline invests in an energy structure that is outdated by current renewable technologies. The pipeline is for crude oil that would come from the tar sands of Canada. The tar sands, as detailed in a National Geographic Channel profile, are an environmental disaster beyond forgiveness. Boreal forests are being destroyed and land is being rendered into lifeless crud.
Rather than investing in the MinnCan Project pipeline that will run its course in a few decades, Minnesotans could invest in renewable energies like wind and solar power that will operate for centuries.
The choice ultimately should be made on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota, present and future. The MinnCan Project is shortsighted and self-interested. Minnesotans are known for their foresightedness. Once again, Minnesotans will have to fight the power companies and this is a fight for the future.