Pressure Mounts on Biden Administration to Act as Line 3 Pipeline Resistance Grows
200+ arrests, ongoing blockade at pump station and resistance camp launched at Mississippi river crossing of controversial tar sands pipeline
June 9, 2021
Northern Minnesota— On Monday, more than 2000 water protectors gathered for Minnesota’s largest ever mobilization against the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, putting more pressure on the Biden administration to honor the Treaties and stop this toxic project.
In the biggest action yet against Line 3, over 500 water protectors shutdown the Two Inlets pump station in solidarity with Giniw Collective for over 29 hours and counting beginning Monday morning. Since construction on the pipeline began in December, over 200 people have been arrested and within one day that number almost doubled with nearly 200 arrested and dozens more cited. Twenty-four water protectors locked themselves to machinery inside the pump station and were eventually arrested. Another group of twenty-four attached themselves to a boat blockading the access road overnight, with arrests still happening on Tuesday afternoon.
Throughout the blockade of the pump station, police escalated tactics. Initially, law enforcement attempted to disrupt water protectors via a Department of Homeland Security helicopter flying at an unlawful height to kick dust and rocks into people’s faces. Police later deployed warning a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) without warning.
Concurrently, 1500 people marched to the spot where the Line 3 pipeline is scheduled to drill under the Mississippi headwaters and launched an ongoing treaty encampment in the path of the pipeline with 200 people camping overnight, led by the Rise Coalition. (Location on County Highway 40, at this link. Direct message Rise Coalition Facebook page for information on supporting and visiting.)
Special guests at the Treaty People Gathering included Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette,Taylor Schilling, and Bill McKibben.
Water protectors and a growing list of supporters including hundreds of faith leaders who gathered to support the water protectors are calling on President Biden to stop Line 3, which opponents say threatens Northern Minnesota’s waters, the global climate, and Anishinaabe treaty rights.
Though the Treaty People Gathering was scheduled to wrap-up on June 8th, the ongoing encampment and lockdowns demonstrate water protectors commitment to stop the pipeline.The Gathering brought new allies to the fight, bolstering the efforts of frontline and Indigenous groups to organize and expand the resistance.
Quotes from key leaders:
“We need to protect all that we have left of the sacred gifts and land. I said that I would do all that I could. And I have done all that I could in the legal system, thus far following that process. Now, they have failed us through regulatory capture and corporate financing. So now we need you,” said Dawn Goodwin of the RISE Coalition.
“This is, in the end, intended to be a 915,000-barrel-a-day tar sands pipeline, the largest tar sands pipeline in the world and the most expensive. It’s now a $9 billion project. Enbridge, the Canadian corporation, has been bringing oil into this country for years. They’re responsible for 75% of the tar sands oil that comes into the country, and they want to shove it through these lines,” said Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth.
“We have very few options left. We are here to protect the water, the wild rice and the next seven generations of life. Keystone XL was stopped on the merits of environmental justice and treaty rights, this is no different. We demand President Biden take action now,” said Simone Senogles of the Indigenous Environmental Network and RISE Coalition.
“Our Mother is calling out, it’s time for us to listen or do the work to remember how. It’s also time for us to all stand with our words. The situation is urgent, it requires urgent response. Find your bravery, find your community, find your truth. Stand with us and Stop Line 3,” said Tara Houska for Giniw Collective.
Contact information for key frontline groups resisting the line 3 tar sands pipeline:
Giniw Collective: Tara Houska, Founder
Rise Coalition: Dawn Goodwin, Nancy Beaulieu, Co-founders
Contact: Jennifer Falcon email@example.com
Honor the Earth: Winona LaDuke, Executive Director
Website, Facebook, Twitter
Contact: Martin Keller, firstname.lastname@example.org (612)220-6515
Visit http://www.stopline3.org for ongoing updates and action from multiple frontline groups and allies fighting to protect treaty rights, and the climate from the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.
Multiple camps along the pipeline route are dedicated to nonviolent treaty-based resistance to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline including the Water Protector Welcome Center in Palisade, the Red Lake Treaty Camp, a camp on the Shell River, and the ongoing encampment near the Mississippi headwaters.
For information about faith leaders who participated in the Treaty People Gathering contact Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), Julia Nearborne, Executive Director
Photos for use can be found in this folder. Credit “Giniw Collective” for all photos in the subfolder “From Giniw Collective”
Below is a partial roundup of media coverage from the Treaty People Gathering:
Washington Post: Pipeline protesters seize Minnesota construction site in bid to stop $4 billion project
The intensifying conflict over Line 3 has been driven in part by Indigenous activists who see a double-barreled threat in the pipeline: a carbon-producing fossil fuel project at a time of worsening climate change and one that also risks polluting tribal lands in the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Emboldened by some victories — such as the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the gatherings at Standing Rock — protesters hope to intensify pressure on the Biden administration to suspend the pipeline permit before the project is completed. [...]
Throughout her years living along the pipeline, Houska said she’s learned about the power of “connecting people to the land and water so they understand what they’re fighting for.” She takes people out to tap maple trees for syrup and to harvest wild rice — a sacred species for the Ojibwe — so others can build a bond with the landscape she believes is in jeopardy because of the new pipeline.
Houska has also had meetings at the White House and is pushing the Biden administration to intervene and direct the Army Corps of Engineers to suspend its permit for the project. She’s particularly concerned that the pipeline crosses dozens of bodies of water, including places where wild rice is grown. The tribal nations in the area still maintain the treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather on land along portions of the pipeline, she said.
“It’s directly threatening and potentially outright destroying that piece of our culture and of our right and of the guarantee that we hold with the United States,” she said.
Associated Press: Oil pipeline foes protest Enbridge's Line 3 in Minnesota
Hundreds of protesters vowing to do whatever it takes to stop a Canadian-based company's push to replace an aging pipeline blocked a pump station Monday in northern Minnesota, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police began making arrests.
Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy's plan to rebuild Line 3, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Wisconsin, would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, and claim treaty rights.
By evening, at least 30 people were arrested by state police and sheriff's officers, but the number "is growing rapidly," Ashley Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for Treaty People Gathering, told The Associated Press.
None of them appeared to resist as allies chanted "We love you." Protesters said the Treaty People Gathering was the largest show of resistance yet to the project. [...]
More than 300 groups delivered a letter to Biden last month calling on him to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to suspend or revoke Enbridge's federal clean water permit for the project. They urged Biden to follow the example he set on the first day of his administration, when he canceled the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, citing worries about climate change.
Biden has not taken a stand on Line 3, and Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is letting the legal process play out.
New York Times: Arrests at Pipeline Test Biden on Climate and Native American Lands
Late on Monday, the arrests began, after dozens of activists used an old fishing boat, bamboo and steel cable to blockade the road to a construction site off Highway 71 north of Park Rapids. Several hundred others scaled the wall of a nearby pump station and occupied the site, some climbing atop diggers and transformer boxes or chaining themselves to construction equipment, before starting to move up the highway.
“Law enforcement officers broke through the steel fences and they just began arresting everyone,” said Tara Houska, a tribal attorney and member of the Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe along the Canadian border. At least 50 people had been arrested, she said. “This is an act of violence on tribal land.” [...]
“Taking care of the water is our responsibility, and we take that responsibility seriously,” said Winona LaDuke, executive director and a co-founder of Honor the Earth, a Native environmental advocacy organization that is a lead group opposed to the pipeline. “We’ve been at this fight against Enbridge for seven years already. It’s like an invasion.”
Behind the scenes, they said, Native lawyers have been urging the Biden administration to intervene. They are trying to flex a newfound political clout among tribal nations — Native Americans now hold important positions within the Biden administration — and say they intend to hold Mr. Biden to his campaign promises on racial equity, particularly for their communities.
MSNBC: Activists Jane Fonda, Tara Houska battle Line 3 pipeline that could harm tribal lands, environment
PBS NewsHour: Pipeline battle brews in Minnesota between Indigenous tribes and a major oil company