On April 10, Mel Olson wrote a letter entitled "Minnesota will benefit from Enbridge's Line 3."
Olson starts his piece by calling the arguments of his opponents on this issue "bluster, noise and misdirection." This is designed to falsely strengthen his argument by sewing disrespect for any other opinion. This vapid bit of misdirection, like most of the rest of his letter, has no basis in reality.
He goes on to cite only the fact that Public Utilities Commission of Minnesota voted to approve Line 3. This isn't a very strong argument, as he goes on to say that it was opposed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
So, one government department says yes, but another says no. Not exactly a stirring argument.
He then attacks Winona LaDuke's assertion that the oil is not coming to Minnesota, but then turns to the argument that it is coming through Minnesota on train cars. The sole exception that he calls out are two refineries. Not exactly the center of life for most Minnesotans.
Olson makes the argument that pipelines are safer than trains. He presents no studies, no statistics from the Department of Transportation, nothing.
"Facts" stated without evidence are opinions and are worth nothing.
According to the Congressional Research Service, between 1996 and 2007, rail transport spilled about 150 barrels per billion-ton-miles, whereas pipelines spilled approximately 280 barrels per billion-ton-miles. That means that pipelines spilled almost double the amount of oil compared to trains. (CRS report prepared for members and committees of Congress, R43390).
Olson says that oil will travel by pipeline or train and that any argument otherwise is nonsensical.
This is flawed as well, because a new green deal would significantly reduce our reliance on petroleum and fossil fuels, thus reducing the need to transport oil or tar sands. His argument that it is "nonsensical" is entirely without evidence or merit.
He follows up by again attacking LaDuke arguments as "disingenuous and disrespectful."
This begs the question, disrespectful to whom?
Disrespectful to a man who has spent his whole professional life either planning and selling pipelines, or designing and selling horizontal drilling?
You see, the most disingenuous part of his letter was not what LaDuke said, but rather that he neglected to mention that he is a former employee of Enbridge Energy (Line 3's owners).
He has also worked for Ayres Associates where he designed and managed pipeline construction, and Frontier Pipeline where he was VP of Market development. He went on to Southeast Directional Drilling, and presently is the president of United Piping.
This is not a man concerned with facts and what is right, this is just another guy trying to pad his wealth regardless of the will of the people, their lives and the environmental impact of his poison-filled pipes.