Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Environmental groups launch pressure campaign urging presidential candidates to oppose Line 3

State, national orgs appeal to field for leadership on climate change


January 24, 2020

As most presidential campaigns continue to avoid offering specific and bold proposals to protect our climate, a coalition of national and state environmental groups today launched a grassroots campaign to pressure candidates directly to speak out against the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline in Northern Minnesota.

“If you are running for president of the United States, you need to be at the table,” said Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, a Native environmental advocacy organization and one of the campaign organizers. “That means candidates running for president of the United States, you need to stand up and oppose climate change. You need to stand up and oppose Line 3.”

Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy has proposed a massive expansion and rerouting of the current Line 3 pipeline from Canada’s tar sands region to Superior, Wis. The new pipeline would carry tar sands crude over 200 bodies of water and would contribute carbon pollution equivalent to 50 coal plants.

“We expect clear leadership from those who say they’re ready to be president,” said Andy Pearson of MN350 Action, another campaign sponsor. “And clear leadership means calling out the incompatibility of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and fighting the climate crisis. It means promising to put our communities ahead of Big Oil’s profits.”

Among presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced in January 2019 that he opposes Line 3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren followed with a public statement in August. Also in August, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota returned a campaign contribution from an Enbridge employee. But Klobuchar has not spoken out against Line 3, and the rest of the Democratic field has been silent.

“We call on Sen. Klobuchar and the rest of the candidates to join Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders in opposing Line 3, a project that would be disastrous for the climate and for Indigenous communities,” Pearson said. “We need you to speak out now.”

MN350 Action is affiliated with the national advocacy group 350 Action. “As we enter the climate decade, real leaders need to stand with Indigenous peoples and communities over fossil fuel billionaires,” said John Qua, 350 Action spokesperson. “We stand in solidarity with Minnesotans and people across America demanding all candidates for this country’s top office oppose the toxic and unnecessary Line 3 pipeline and fight for a world that puts our health and safety first.”

Another campaign sponsor, Oil Change U.S., worked with Bold Nebraska and community partners to successfully lobby 10 Democratic presidential candidates to commit to stopping the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would pass through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Warren, Sanders, Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg all signed that pledge while Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden have not.

“Our request for candidates on Line 3 is simple: Stand with Indigenous communities and oppose this climate-wrecking disaster of a pipeline,” said Collin Rees of Oil Change U.S. “We know that existing fossil fuel infrastructure is enough to doom the world to climate crisis. The last thing we need is another massive pipeline. It’s time for all candidates who want to be climate leaders to publicly oppose Line 3, acknowledge the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and get serious about investing in a just transition that leaves no one behind.”

Honor the Earth and MN350 Action were two of several organizers of September’s Gichi-gami Gathering to Stop Line 3, which attracted 1,200 pipeline opponents to the shores of Lake Superior.

“For the past seven years, we have been fighting a pipeline -- 760,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil that no one needs,” LaDuke said. “We don’t need it added to our atmosphere, and we don’t need it across our pristine lake country.”



Honor the Earth uses Indigenous wisdom, music, art, and the media to raise awareness and support for Indigenous environmental issues. Honor the Earth leverages this awareness and support to develop financial and political capital for Indigenous struggles for land and life.

MN350 Action is the political home for Minnesotans concerned about stopping the climate crisis. It mobilizes voters statewide to elect climate champions and to demand an end to policies favoring fossil fuel interests over the interests of Minnesota communities. It is the companion organization to MN350, one of the leading nonprofit advocates for climate justice in the state.

Oil Change U.S. is dedicated to supporting real climate leadership, exposing the true costs of fossil fuels, and building a just, equitable, and renewable energy future in the United States.

350 Action works to change the politics of climate change in the United States by mobilizing progressive voters, electing climate champions, holding fossil-fueled politicians accountable, supporting frontline partners, training young movement leaders, and more.


Line 3 would carry tar sands crude, which is particularly damaging to our climate for two reasons. First, in order to reach the oil, fossil fuel companies have had to destroy thousands of acres of old-growth forests, eliminating their capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Second, as its name suggests, the oil is not free-flowing as it is in conventional oil production. Rather, tar sands crude is thick. Energy must be used to heat the oil to extract it, or it has to be mined like ore and then separated from the soil in an energy-intensive process.

As a result, a gallon of gasoline made from tar sands produces significantly more carbon dioxide emissions than a gallon made from conventional oil.


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