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Letter to the editor: Paid advertising pitches alternative facts

An economic legacy in progress. A brand-new, relocated oil pipeline, rerouted right through our central lakes area. More than 8,600 new jobs. Millions in tax dollars. Meeting Minnesota's future energy needs. Really good for our community. Local businesses catering meals-to-go for construction workers. Movie theaters packed after hours. Motel rooms overbooked.

That's the sunny outlook portrayed in Enbridge's recent paid advertisement, promoting its relocation plan for the existing Line 3 pipeline versus maintaining it.

The reality: 20 new, permanent, post-construction jobs. Basically the same tax dollars. A useless, buried anti-legacy, abandoned in the ground at-risk for posterity, and perpetuity. "It is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built." - Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Meeting Minnesota's energy needs? Enbridge's petroleum products are sold primarily to non-Minnesota markets.

Environmental realists affirm the majority of local opinions, from the Whitefish Area Property Owners Association to many other groups, the people who actually live here and know the priceless value of the land, the sky-blue lakes and shorelines called home, homes that would be forever tainted by any major systemic failures, as has already been witnessed through Enbridge's colossal disasters in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and Kalamazoo, Michigan - by a foreign company that stands to hugely profit off of us taking monumental risks.

Enbridge boasts of insurance against losses. Houses (like automobiles) and pipelines (like offshore oil rigs - remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster?) can be insured. Priceless legacies cannot. Nor can they be perfectly salvaged once trashed (i.e. Kalamazoo, eight years later); only inherited and preserved.

Paid advertising, like campaign propaganda, can be bought, but cannot replace truth with spending. A future Line 3 replacement disaster would be our loss, and nobody's shining legacy.

Steven Olson,

Baxter