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  • Wenzel: Too many holes in anti-pipeline argumentsFebruary 3, 2015

    Boosters of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline project came to our office recently to tout what they say will be the many benefits to the region if the pipeline ever gets the go-ahead from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

    Much of what the supporters said seems legitimate, but it was hard to resist noting that the timing of the meeting — which was planned a few weeks in advance — came just a couple of days after a pipeline leaked about 40,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Mont.

    So, we asked the pro-Sandpiper contingent if they cringed a bit as news spread about the Yellowstone spill while they were out on this PR tour. After all, the Sandpiper’s proposed route would have it pass under the Red River near Grand Forks and around numerous lakes in northern Minnesota before ending at Superior, Wis.

    That’s enough of a connection to warrant the question.

    Dan Gunderson, of Issue Management Resources and speaking on behalf of the pipeline, took the lead on the answer.

    “First of all, no pipeline wants an incident,” he said.

    “… That being said, the biggest difference between today and when I started with Amoco in 1989 is that I know of at least one spill that was bigger, and nobody ever heard about it.”

    What a difference a couple of decades makes, especially as oil takes its spot in the driver’s seat of North Dakota’s economic engine amid growing controversy with the industry.

    Both sides of the oil controversy are so well-spoken that it’s sometimes hard to figure out who to believe.

    To continue reading, click here.