22 water protectors arrested as Line 3 resistance grows
December 17, 2020
Palisade, MN -- The movement to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline continues to expand statewide with nonviolent protests led by Indigenous community groups and their allies as the project is challenged in court.
On Monday, 22 water protectors were arrested voicing opposition to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline near the Mississippi River north of Palisade, Minn. All but one of the 22 were released Tuesday afternoon from the Aitkin County Jail. This action follows another Saturday when five people were cited for allegedly blocking traffic at the contested site.
“The depth of commitment shown by these brave water protectors is inspiring to all of us and underscores that injustice demands a powerful response.” said MN350 Executive Director Sam Grant. “Line 3 should never have gotten to the construction stage, and it should never be built. Courageous Minnesotans are doing everything they can to stop it and ensure that treaties are honored and our climate protected.”
“We are sad that Minnesotans must face arrest to protect our water as Enbridge moves ahead and while we await the state’s Court of Appeals to rule on whether this pipeline is even legal or needed,” said Winona LaDuke, Executive Director and Co-founder of Honor the Earth. “We will expect more resistance.”
“Since Gov. Waltz refuses to secure free, informed and prior consent for Line 3 from the Anishinaabe people before ruining our life sources, we are left with no choice but to put our bodies on the line to stop Line 3 and protect the water for our future generations,” said Dawn Goodwin, an Indigenous Environmental Network organizer and RISE Coalition Co-Founder. Goodwin was one of five water protectors cited Saturday near the construction site. “We are the women calling upon you to protect all that is sacred." Simone Senogles, a staff member of the Indigenous Environmental Network, was one of the water protectors arrested Monday.
“That Minnesotans are willing to risk arrest shows they’re fighting to protect what they love,” said MN350 Communications Director Brett Benson. “They’re standing up to say it’s time the state actually listen to Indigenous voices and start protecting our climate instead of caving to the interests of a Canadian oil giant.”
Visits by legislators to construction site
On Sunday, eight Minnesota legislators who oppose Line 3 visited the construction site and called for a stay on construction while legal challenges are heard in court.
“If we want to have a livable planet for our future and the generations to come, we simply cannot build new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Senator-elect Jen McEwen of Duluth.
Prayer vigil scheduled Thursday amid concerns about COVID spread
Health professionals from Northern Minnesota and across the state have implored the governor to pause Enbridge’s plan to deploy 4,200 construction workers, mostly from out of state, to jump-start the project during a spike in the COVID crisis.
Honor the Earth and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light have scheduled a prayer and solidarity gathering at 2 p.m. Thursday at the site of construction near Palisade.
About Line 3
MN350, Honor the Earth and other pipeline opponents have fought for six years to stop Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy from building the massive Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota, from Canada’s tar sands region to Superior, Wis. The pipeline violates several treaties with the Ojibwe people that establish their right to hunt, fish, and gather along the proposed route.
Honor the Earth, two tribal nations, Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce and other pipeline opponents have asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn the Public Utilities Commission’s approval of the pipeline as illegal. They’ve also filed a request for a stay of construction while the appeal is heard.
The pipeline would cross 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River twice. If built, Line 3 would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of tar sands crude oil -- some of the dirtiest oil in the world -- and would contribute the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. Its carbon footprint would exceed the entire state of Minnesota’s.