The Line 3 Replacement Project is clearly an important part of this equation. It would impact Duluth and our region in many ways. It is vital for the Minnesota economy.

Pipelines are things we do not visibly see yet depend on every day to make sure we have the energy we need here in the Northland and across all of Minnesota. While we change to a world with more green and renewable energy, we will continue to need the base-energy sources that a pipeline brings to Duluth and Minnesota. We also need to make sure the energy is delivered in a way that is as safe and as responsible as possible.

For more than five years, Enbridge has worked with communities across Minnesota, including tribal communities and their members, to create the best plan and best route to replace Line 3. Remember, the original pipeline was first installed in the late 1960s. The process to replace Line 3 started with the Obama-Biden administration and has created what is now the most thorough review of any pipeline project in Minnesota’s history.

Simply stated, a new Line 3 would be safer. It has always been important to replace something old with something new and better, especially when it involves our energy infrastructure.

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It’s even more important to make sure we get construction started on Line 3 this year because of our immediate need to create jobs — family-supporting jobs and jobs that provide customers for companies in Duluth and across our region. The Line 3 Replacement Project will immediately bring more than 4,000 high-paying union labor jobs to our region. These are amazing people who will live and work in northern Minnesota, earning paychecks that will support our local economy.

At a time when government is facing budget shortfalls at both the state and local levels, the Line 3 project is funded completely with private money from Enbridge Energy. More money is to be invested than what it would cost to build two US Bank Stadiums — without taxpayers having to spend a dime. In fact, the only public money that continues to be spent on this is money paid to the people who have been delaying approval of this project for the past five years. This project promises to bring more than $2 billion into our state’s economy. It is considered the largest infrastructure project ever in our state’s history.

Even more important is what Line 3 means to Minnesota at a higher level. The history of Duluth and northern Minnesota has been shaped by key projects that protect and take responsible use of the natural resources we love and care so much about. Minnesota has some of the toughest rules and strongest processes to approve key projects like Line 3.

There are good reasons for this. Minnesotans want to make sure that while we create jobs, we protect our environment and quality of life at the same time. The challenge today is that when a company or a project can prove they can meet these importantly high standards, they should be allowed to move forward. The key difference is the leadership and vision we need from our leaders to make sure the decisions they make in St. Paul reflect what we need here in the Northland while still respecting our values. The fact that Line 3 has been needlessly delayed for years now, as families wait for jobs and our communities look for economic hope, is simply tragic.

We now see signs in yards supporting or opposing Line 3. What they represent is a clear difference in leadership and how we view our future. Our history and how we grew our economy and communities have created a path for our future. Replacing Line 3 builds on this and shows that we are committed to a future that supports jobs, families, communities, and protecting our environment. It is why I support Line 3 and why it is so important to everyone in Minnesota.

Tom Sullivan of Duluth is a corporate pilot for UPI, or United Piping, Inc. He is also the Republican challenger to DFL Rep. Jennifer Schultz in the Nov. 3 election.

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