(Duluth, MN) On Wednesday morning, Water Protectors marched through downtown Duluth to call out Wells Fargo’s investments in Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. Two people chained themselves to the front doors of the bank, shutting down the branch for nearly an hour. This is the second protest at this location this week, as opponents of the Line 3 pipeline escalate their opposition to the project’s financiers.
Protestors aim to challenge Wells Fargo’s investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, particularly the Line 3 pipeline. A report published last week by dozens of environmental nonprofits and research organizations identified Wells Fargo as the third greatest funder of fossil fuels among all banks. The movement to stop Line 3 is joined by organizations around the world in calling on banks and other financial entities to #DefundLine3 and all fossil fuel infrastructure.
Alex Golden-Wolf, a two-spirit Anishinaabe water protector, shared why they joined today’s rally: “I am marching today because I want my fellow neighbors of Minnesota to know the environmental impact that this pipeline will have on them.” Margaret spoke at the protest, saying “I’m shutting down this bank to let Wells Fargo, and other banks profiting from extraction and colonialism, know that we won’t allow it to happen anymore. Line 3 violates treaty rights, threatens the land and the water, and must be stopped.
This protest connecting fossil fuel investments to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline is yet another event in the growing movement resisting the pipeline. Since the Canadian energy transfer company Enbridge proposed the project in 2014, Indigenous communities and environmental organizations across Minnesota have resisted its permitting and construction. Although ongoing legal appeals have yet to be finalized in court, Enbridge was allowed to begin construction of the pipeline across Northern Minnesota in December of 2020. The movement is growing in numbers, and Indigenous-led direct action on the frontlines has delayed construction every week since it began.
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(Floodwood, MN) Early Thursday morning, several Water Protectors under Indigenous leadership took action to shut down two Enbridge construction sites on the Line 3 pipeline route. While two people locked themselves to a gate, blocking access to a worksite building a pump station, four more individuals (Sonja Birthisel, Julie Macuga, Cody Pajic, and Leif Taranta) ascended and chained themselves to the top of large machines attempting to lay pipe at an adjacent construction site in St. Louis County.
Since construction began in December of 2020, the movement to stop the Line 3 pipeline has been steadily growing. Over 200 water protectors have been arrested protesting construction, making this the largest pipeline protest since Standing Rock. Several of the people participating in this morning’s action with Camp Migizi traveled across the country to join the resistance.
Dr. Sonja Birthisel, when asked why she was willing to risk arrest to stop construction, said “As an environmental scientist, I am painfully aware that it is time to transition away from fossil fuel dependence. I am here to stand for treaty rights, and the right to a livable future.”
Line 3 is a $4 billion dollar oil pipeline currently being built across Northern Minnesota by the Canadian corporation Enbridge Energy. The project aims to replace and expand the aging and corroded original Line 3 pipeline, which carries tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, WI. The existing Line 3 is responsible for the largest ever inland oil spill in US history, in which nearly 1.7 million barrels of crude oil spilled in Grand Rapids MN in 1991. Despite promises to bring needed income to Minnesota residents and hire 75% local workers, only a third of employees constructing the new pipeline are from Minnesota.
Construction faces active and growing resistance led by Indigenous groups who see the project and the risk of a spill as a violation of treaty rights. The pipeline threatens wild rice lakes in treaty territories where the Anishinaabe have the right to hunt, fish, and gather. Opponents also decry the project’s contribution to the epidemic of MMIWR (missing and murdered Indigenous women and relatives) caused by the hundreds of temporary workers employed by the project. Environmental groups are concerned about the pipeline’s contribution to climate change. Oil from the tar sands is the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel, and the expanded Line 3 would carry as much carbon as 50 new coal-fired power plants.
Interviews with movement leadership and photos available upon request.
Climate Activists March in San Francisco Financial District, Demanding Banks Defund Controversial Line 3 Pipeline
San Fransisco: Today Diablo Rising Tide convened Bay Area climate justice groups and activists in solidarity with the struggle to stop the Line 3 pipeline. A 100 person march of shame” targeted the Wall Street West banks funding the hotly contested tar sands pipeline. Banks included Bank of America JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and MUFG subsidiary Union Bank. All located in the Financial District, i.e. Wall Street West.
— Diablo Rising Tide (@RTBayArea) March 19, 2021
The struggle against Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline is heating up in northern Minnesota, with Indigenous activists putting their bodies on the line to stop the pipeline and the harm it will bring to the environment and local communities. Over 200 ‘water protectors’ have been arrested and cited in dozens of actions along the pipeline construction route in recent months and solidarity demonstrations have spread nationwide.
In recent weeks activists from across the US, including the Bay Area, have traveled to Minnesota to occupy pipeline construction sites alongside Indigenous water protectors. At a number of separate camps, they have faced freezing cold temperatures and police repression. The massive pipeline expansion would carry foreign tar sands oil, one of the most polluting and energy intensive forms of fossil fuel in the world and would transport the carbon emissions equivalent of 50 coal fired power plants once operational.