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Enbridge exec calls for help to balance energy debate
Enbridge needs the support of business and community members to continue serving the energy needs of its customers, President and CEO Al Monoco said in Duluth Thursday. Facing growing opposition to energy development, it’s critical that people remind government there’s an important link between energy availability and everyday life, he told more than 1,300 persons who attended the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner meeting.
“The reality is that life takes energy, but sometimes people forget … how we heat our house, cook our food, power our cars or, when we take a trip, power the airplane. We often forget the importance of how pipelines interact with that equation,” said Monoco, who was selected to lead the firm in 2012.
Enbridge employs more than 830 people in Duluth-Superior and contributes about $60 million to the local economy.
His comments came just weeks after Minnesota regulators called for more study of routes for the company’s proposed Sandpiper line, which will transport oil from the Bakken fields to the Enbridge hub in Superior. That added study could delay construction by at least a year.
Monoco conceded there are legitimate concerns about climate change and pipeline accidents, but argued that the advent of social media has elevated every local or regional discussion to become a national debate.
“This new area of opposition, I think, is creating a major concern for everyone about our ability to get production – all of this pent-up supply we have – to the right markets on a timely basis,” he said. “When you have an increase in costs, and have delays, it always has the potential to stifle or stop investment.”
The Sandpiper delay is a prime example of the difficult environment faced by oil transporters like Enbridge, Monoco said.
“What we all need to do is encourage our legislators and regulators to maintain their resolve in supporting the processes that have served Minnesota well for so many decades,” he said, calling for transparent decision making.
Promoting the economic benefits alone, Monoco said, no longer convinces people to support pipeline development.
“We need to spend a lot more time talking about Part 2 of the equation. If you can’t convince a community that your project is safe and will protect the environment, they aren’t going to listen to the other part of the equation, which is the economic benefits,” he said.
To balance the pipeline debate, he called for assistance from community leaders, unions, suppliers, teachers and contractors. That support will help regulators make good decisions, he suggested.
“This argument is just more powerful coming from the community than from us,” Monoco said. “We need people like you to speak up and add balance to the discussion. Please help us put some pucks in the net.”
During the Chamber's business session, Karen Anderson, WLSSD director of community relations, was introduced as board chair. She replaces Ken Browall, publisher of the Duluth News Tribune, who completed his term.
Named Fuse Person of the Year was Tiersa Dodge, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP l Designer, DSGW Architects.
Hilary Hodgman, Home Mortgage Consultant, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, was named Ambassador of the Year, and
David Barnes, Treasury Management Representative, US Bank, as named Volunteer of the Year.Previous Daily Briefing Articles:
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