Democrat Warns Candidates About Opposing Pipeline Improvements in Minnesota

A Democrat and former campaign worker for Sen. Bernie Sanders is warning her party that they must be careful in opposing pipelines in Minnesota, or else they could jeopardize their electoral chances in the reliably Democratic state.

In Real Clear Politics, Savannah Shoemake cautions Democrats over opposing Line 3 in Minnesota:

One such minefield is opposing a pipeline called Line 3 that’s being rebuilt and replaced in Minnesota. While it hasn’t garnered much attention on the national stage yet, it could very well become the next Dakota Access or Keystone XL fight in the months ahead and just in time for the 2020 election. …

Democrats need to be cautious about blindly joining this fight for a few important reasons. First, the project is supported by local labor unions and leaders, as well as lawmakers in both parties in the state. Second, as we’ve seen from past protests over pipelines, they usually have a costly and negative impact on local residents, taxpayers, law enforcement and government – and therefore a negative impact on any politician who is supporting the protests. 

As Shoemake notes, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Sanders have both come out against rebuilding Line 3 – drawing criticism from unions working on the project:

Kevin Pranis, spokesman for the Minnesota and North Dakota chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America ,said Line 3 has “survived a rigorous permitting process run by public officials who care deeply about clean air, clean water, and respecting the concerns of all stakeholders.” The union expects to work on Line 3 if built.

“We encourage all of the presidential candidates to talk to us and to other stakeholders and to better educate themselves about these issues before rushing to judgment,” Pranis said. …

“We really don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat; we want people who will support local union jobs and creating more local jobs for everybody,” (Mike) Syversrud said.

Replacing Line 3 does more than create jobs. It also replaces aging infrastructure, allowing oil to be transported more safely and efficiently. The updated pipeline will better protect the environment and the people of Minnesota.