A recent letter to the editor in the Duluth News Tribune expressing opposition to the proposed Line 3 Replacement project noted there is a “glut of cheap oil in the world, that the “Line 3 pipeline seems destined to be a stranded asset,” and that it will “sit empty.”
The letter fails to recognize the basics of how supply and demand work. Yes, given the current unprecedented challenges facing the global economy, there is an excess of crude oil and prices have hit rock bottom.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic passes, demand will rapidly increase as economies across the globe restart, non-essential businesses and manufacturing re-open, and pre-COVID levels of travel resume. When this happens, the American energy industry needs to be ready. It is important to keep in mind these projects take several years to complete, and we must act now to address the supply delay that could occur when demand spikes.
In addition, the letter also neglects to mention that Line 3 already exists. However, the pipeline requires regular maintenance and cannot operate at full capacity. The replacement project will decommission parts of the existing pipeline – making Line 3 safer and more efficient. This investment will ultimately benefit American consumers.
Further, projects like the Line 3 Replacement project are opportunities for economic growth when we need it most. Pipeline projects support thousands of construction jobs over multiple years of construction, create new streams of tax revenue for local and state use, and create new economic opportunities for communities and businesses along the route. Line 3 is no different.