Water Protectors Confront MN Gov. Tim Walz at DFL Event, Demand Answers About Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline
September 7, 2021
ALEXANDRIA, MN. — On Saturday afternoon, dozens ofwater protectors with the movement to stop Line 3 interrupted a Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) event hosted by Governor Tim Walz. The activists confronted the Governorabout the Line 3 tar sands pipeline and his administration’s failure to take action to halt the project.
Multiple people confronted Governor Walz with questions about Line 3. One water protector stood up and asked, “Line 3 would emit more carbon than your entire state. How can you still be serious about climate change and let Line 3 be built?” Governor Walz failed to address any of the audience’s questions, instead responding by saying, “I ran and got the votes, and I have to make the decisions, and I know some of them are unpopular. But we have to make everybody’s voices heard.” Walz left the event after water protectors took the stage while singing and chanting.
Today’s intervention follows a week of action in St. Paul where thousands of water protectors across the political spectrum gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol to highlight the failure of the Walz administration to stop Line 3. Following that week of action, more than 60 water protectors were brutally arrestedduring a peaceful protest at Governor Walz’s mansion on Saturday, August 28th.
Indigenous water protectors and climate activists have called on the Governor to take action to stop Line 3 over the years, citing threats to Anishinaabe treaty rights, water, Indigenous cultural resources, and the future of global climate. In November 2020, the Walz administration approved Enbridge Energy’s Section 401 Water Permits, allowing construction to begin in Northern Minnesota. Having opposed Line 3 prior to his election and claiming to be a climate leader, Walz has now allowed the tar sands pipeline, which will have the carbon equivalent of building 50 new coal fired power plants, to be built.
While the Walz administration remains silent as tensions escalate, President Biden too has yet to take a definitive stance on Line 3. Since construction began, more than 800 water protectors have been arrested for peaceful demonstration along the frontlines and over 26 spills have been reported by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Dozens of federal lawmakers, including Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, have voiced support for the movement, urging President Biden to cancel the pipeline as he did with Keystone XL. This weekend, “Squad” members Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush traveled to Minnesota to meet Indigenous water protectors on the frontlines and call on Biden to halt the project.