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Letter to the editor: A question of ethical accountability

Letter writer Mike O'Brien recently took issue with Rep. Josh Heintzeman and Sen. Carrie Ruud for opposing the court appeal filing against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project. That appeal has been ruled in favor, by Gov. Walz, and al...

Letter writer Mike O'Brien recently took issue with Rep. Josh Heintzeman and Sen. Carrie Ruud for opposing the court appeal filing against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project. That appeal has been ruled in favor, by Gov. Walz, and allowed to proceed.

In his letter in the Brainerd Dispatch Feb. 15, Mr. O'Brien asked Rep. Heintzeman and Sen. Ruud whether they would provide a public accounting of donations by Enbridge to their political campaigns. Enbridge has reportedly spent $5 million in lobbying efforts in Minnesota to allow construction of the pipeline along a new route north of the Brainerd lakes area, coming within the Whitefish Lake/Pine River Watershed, and leaving the old, failing pipeline segments buried in the ground.

Alas, Mr. O'Brien may not know that what he is asking of our state lawmakers is an "insulting" question, using "fear-mongering" and "factless tactics."

Never mind that Enbridge, a foreign-owned company, has a deplorable record of pipeline oil spills: the largest ever in U.S. history, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota; and another, massive failure in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that is, years later, still being cleaned up; and many others.

Requesting an accounting of relevant campaign donations from Rep. Heintzeman seems to be a non-starter. When I had earlier asked him an identical question regarding any donations to his campaign by Enbridge, its affiliates or its PACs, Mr. Heintzeman merely informed me that "I find the question insulting." Further, he stated he failed to "understand how (myself) or anybody else could justify the kind of factless tactics and fear-mongering (by) those opposed (to the replacement line)."

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So much for credibility of our state lawmakers interacting openly with their constituents. Hopefully, Mr. O'Brien may fare better in obtaining a fairer answer to an essential question of ethical accountability than did I.

Steven Olson,

Baxter

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