Anti-Pipeline Protesters Ruin Theater of Public Policy Performance for Everyone

Angry anti-pipeline protesters crashed the party at The Theater of Public Policy Monday evening, as eco-activists who oppose building new pipelines to safely and efficiently transport oil decided the show must not go on. The Star Tribune reports:

“Tane Danger has been hosting the Theater of Public Policy for 350 shows in seven years, melding topical discussions with improvisational comedy.

For the first time Monday evening, he canceled mid-show after anti-pipeline protesters in the crowd continuously shouted down his guests, two utility regulators.

Acrimony from a PUC meeting earlier Monday — in which the panel reaffirmed its support for a new $2.6 billion Enbridge pipeline across northern Minnesota — migrated to the small but sold-out theater in south Minneapolis.

On Monday evening, Danger started the show with a quick introduction, a skit by the Theater of Public Policy’s players, and then started interviewing Tuma and Lipschultz. As Tuma began explaining what exactly the PUC does, the hectoring started.

Lipschultz tried to pick up the conversation before cries of “They ignore the law” and “they break the law” were lobbed from the crowd. Danger tried to lower the room temperature.

It’s too bad the anti-pipeline protesters had to spoil the party. I had a lot of fun when Kevin Lee, from the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and I had a very civil debate the merits of copper-nickel mining in Northern Minnesota. Audience members had strong opinions on both sides of the issue but we were able to co-exist.

Our “debate,” which was really more of a discussion, was mentioned in the Strib this afternoon:

“A few weeks ago, [Danger] successfully did a show on the increasingly likely prospect of hard rock mining in northeastern Minnesota — a topic every bit as contentious as Enbridge’s pipeline. The show pitted representatives of the anti-sulfide mining Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and a pro-mining conservative think tank, Center of the American Experiment.”

Unfortunately, the anti-pipeline crowd can’t bring themselves to admit that building a new oil pipeline is better for people, and better for the environment. By shouting down people they disagree with, the demonstrated their position isn’t an educated, evidence-based position, but an emotional one.

The folks at The Theater of Public Policy didn’t deserve this, and hopefully it won’t happen again.