Activists take direct action in continued call to stop Line 3
Environmental activists risked arrest Aug. 29 with a demonstration urging Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to act immediately to stop Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline project.
Participants included tribal elders, environmental and indigenous advocates and faith leaders.
Some activists gathered in Bemidji to engage in an act of civil disobedience — the occupation of a downtown intersection for four hours.
Others staged a sit-in Dayton’s office. “We are calling on Gov. Dayton to act. It is time for him to protect Minnesota from this dangerous tar sands pipeline,” said Margaret Levin, director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter.
Earlier this summer, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted to approve Enbridge’s proposal to replace a portion of its Line 3 pipeline against the recommendations of the state department of commerce, office of administrative hearings, pollutions control agency and department of natural resources.
The commission also voted against the wishes of four tribal governments and thousands of Minnesotans who participated in the review process and opposed Line 3.
The pipeline will carry tar sands oil from the Athabasca River Basin in Alberta. It risks spills in fragile areas, including where American Indians harvest wild rice. Ojibwe Indians, or Anishinaabe, consider wild rice sacred and central to their culture.
Line 3’s terminal is in Superior, Wisconsin.
“I am here to say, Bimaadiziwin Nibi. Water is life,” said Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth who lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. “I am here to say that our state should not be militarized and our people arrested and injured for a Canadian Pipeline Co. I am here because it is necessary to be here, to protect our future generations. I am a water protector.”
About 60 people participated in the protest and several were detained by law enforcement.
“This dirty tar sands project is another example of the fossil fuel industry’s disregard for tribal sovereignty, clean air and water, and the health and safety of communities and the climate,” said Kendall Mackey, a Keep it in the Ground campaigner for global group 350.org. “It’s time for Gov. Dayton to show real climate leadership by listening to the people of Minnesota and stopping Line 3 for good.”
Activists, including Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, center, protest Aug. 29 in Bemidji, Minnesota, urging Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to immediately stop Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project.