EDITORIAL: Greens err by slamming concept in absence ofA spokeswoman for Lake Superior Greens this week announced the group opposes an expansion of Murphy Oil’s Superior refinery, citing environmental concerns.
A spokeswoman for Lake Superior Greens this week announced the group opposes an expansion of Murphy Oil’s Superior refinery, citing environmental concerns.
That’s certainly the group’s right, but with the opposition announced even before a refinery plan is introduced, it spotlights the concern more and more people have about some environmental groups: They appear to be against all development. Period. Why should companies even bother doing their homework, seeking permits or asking for regulatory approvals?
In essence, the Lake Superior Greens said they won’t let any information, including scientific data, get in the way of their opinions. Sadly, this casts a pall on other groups that might be willing to take an honest look at new development. It takes a broad brush and negatively slathers everyone who raises legitimate questions about the refinery expansion or any other new project.
To be clear, nothing has been introduced, either formally or informally. And that raises the question of why the Greens suggest Murphy Oil is trying to “frame” the concept as a local issue that won’t have broad implications. In fact, Murphy has never issued a news release, held a press conference or made any public outreach making that suggestion. So far, company representatives have gone public only when local news media searched them out regarding property purchases surrounding the existing refinery. To suggest they’re promoting any agenda whatsoever is outright nonsense.
As The Telegram has said in the past, this concept, if it ever advances, should be subjected to thorough scientific study and regulatory scrutiny. The decision on whether or not to proceed should be based on hard facts, not politics or opinion.
The Lake Superior Greens are absolutely correct about one thing. This isn’t a local issue. People from around the state, region, nation and world are carefully watching this debate. But they’re not just watching Murphy Oil. When a local environmental group slams the potential development in the void of any specific information, they do so while in a spotlight that can be manipulated by conservative pundits who love to publicize such missteps.
Issues of this magnitude need to be considered cautiously and seriously, not with reckless abandon.