In the discussion on the need for Line 3, what is often lost is the broader context and uses that crude oil has in our interconnected world. While much is focused on the important fuels that are refined from crude oil, petroleum products are used in a range of items from medical devices to medicines to safety products and even everyday household products. In short, many of the products we take for granted are derived from petroleum.
This leads me to a personal story about my son, an Army captain, commander, and Apache helicopter gun pilot. Without the commodities that Enbridge Energy transports every day, my son and others may not be alive today.
Let me explain.
Crude oil is refined and distilled into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels — fuel oil for everything the military uses in peace and wartime. Advanced medical devices such as artificial hearts, prosthetic limbs, and hearing aids are made from natural gas and oil products. And petroleum products are used in medications and in anesthetics used for sedation.
My son was injured while flying a war combat mission when deployed overseas, protecting us and fighting for our freedoms. Jet Propellant 8 is used in the Apache helicopter to fly missions. I know of no alternative for jet fuel.
Petroleum products are used in the helmets that protect aviators’ heads and that help them fly and direct ammunition. Petroleum products are also used in other protective gear used in-flight.
Petroleum products are used in the emergency medical supplies that kept my son alive upon his injury. Sedation was used for his emergency surgery and two additional corrective surgeries, and they are used in pain-management medicine.
Petroleum products are used in the pens he used to write letters home and in the adhesive tape I used to send him packages to brighten his recovery (something we should all be doing for our military members who are putting their lives in harm’s way for our safety).
Petroleum products are necessary to protect us in ways that are not easy to see and used in products we may take for granted. For all these reasons and many more, we need the crude oil transported by Line 3. We need to bring Line 3 back up to capacity. Our lives depend on it.
Gail Wahlberg of Hermantown works in tribal economic engagement for Enbridge Energy.