Two Water Protectors Lock Down to Enbridge Line 3 Excavators Blocking Active Construction

cross-posted from the Ginew Collective

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: giniw@protonmail.com
November 18, 2020

Two Water Protectors Lock Down to Enbridge Line 3 Excavators Blocking Active Construction

(Two Inlets, MN) This morning, two water protectors locked their bodies through the treads of excavators working on a pump station for Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, as dozens of others rallied in support.

Last week, Democratic Governor Tim Walz’ administration approved the last major permits needed by Enbridge, a Canadian multi-national seeking to build the Line 3 expansion project to carry Alberta tar sands to the shore of Lake Superior. The administration approved sending up to 1M barrels of tar sands per day through 212 water bodies and 818 wetlands in Anishinaabe treaty territory of northern Minnesota.

On Monday, the 12 of 17 members of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned, calling the permit approvals a continuation of Minnesota’s “war on black and brown people”. George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earlier this year.

When asked why they would take such a risk to their safety and freedom, Betsy Foy, 20, (St. Paul), said, “I grew up in Nebraska hearing about the devastation the Keystone pipeline would cause, so when I moved to Minnesota and learned about Line 3, I felt called to take action. Even if I can’t stop something on my own, it’s vital to have many people in the movement standing in solidarity.”

Mira Grinsfelder, 24, (St. Paul), said, “Having grown up on occupied Anishinaabe and Dakota land, I feel a responsibility to defend that land and the rights of the people who have a relationship to it. If the US government won’t defend Anishinaabe treaty rights, we will. If the Minnesota government won’t protect the water, we will.”

Line 3 Protest at logging site in Cass County, MN

pic via Northfield Against Line 3

cross-posted from Northfield Against Line 3

WATER PROTECTORS PROTEST TAR SANDS LINE 3 PIPELINE

A peaceful rally held in Northern Minnesota promoted Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice

CASS COUNTY, MN —  20 water protectors held a rally today at a logging site where workers had been patch clear cutting trees along the proposed route of Line 3, the proposed tar sands pipeline expansion owned by Canadian company Enbridge Energy. At 1PM, water protectors from across Minnesota, including organizers with Northfield Against Line 3, rallied for over an hour among large logging equipment and felled trees, chanting “Honor the Treaties!” and “Stop Line 3” before they left the site.

“We are here to send the message loud and clear: Line 3 will not be built! All pipelines spill, and Enbridge has deliberately misled the public. We need real climate solutions, and they must be rooted in honoring Indigenous sovereignty,” said Elizabeth (a pseudonym), one of the water protectors involved in the rally.

This afternoon’s acts of civilian oversight build off of a decade of growing opposition to the proposed Line 3 pipeline, which would transport 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the western shore of Lake Superior. Despite facing significant delays in court, the company has allowed to begin what it calls “pre-construction,” making today’s intervention a necessary step in enforcing transparency along the proposed corridor. Line 3’s proposed route puts sensitive ecosystems at risk, including 15 watersheds and 215 lakes, and its associated carbon emissions would further destabilize the global climate. Enbridge is still waiting for the verdict on their 401 water quality permit, a crucial oversight from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

pic via Northfield Against Line 3

Today’s action highlights acts of patch clear cutting in a ecologically vulnerable area that directly abuts the proposed Line 3 expansion route. This logging of birch and pine trees is part of a legacy of abuse upon the land and the land’s original inhabitants by logging companies and the state government who bought the land cheaply, making way for decades of violent extraction. While the profits from rotating timber permits are supposed to support township services, the logging occurred in 1855 Treaty Territory, violating the rights of the Anishinaabe people to fish, hunt and gather, and make free, prior and informed decisions regarding any project.

“We must end the perpetuation of settler colonialism and cycle of mindless extraction. We’re here fighting for a livable future for all, because another world is not only necessary, but possible,” said Emerson (a pseudonym), another water protector involved in the action.

Buoyed by the actions of several groups opposing Line 3 in so-called Minnesota and beyond, today’s successful rally will no doubt continue to galvanize the wider movement to stop all fossil fuel projects, especially tar sands extraction, and demand climate justice. Activists came to observe and protest nearby logging to raise awareness of the devastating possibilities of business as usual.

City Pages: Minneapolis protesters decry ‘suit and tie motherfuckers’ lobbying for Enbridge

cross-posted from City Pages

February 27, 2020

by Hannah Jones

The Capella office tower in downtown Minneapolis is so echoey, it was hard to ignore the protesters chanting on the second floor no matter where you were standing.

The group, carrying signs that said “STOP LINE 3” and “NO PIPELINES,” was gathered outside the elevators to Winthrop and Weinstine, a law firm way up on the 35th floor. A few people dressed in office attire skirted past them warily as they headed to lunch. A man in a tie watched the proceedings from a few yards away, occasionally muttering a few words into a walkie-talkie.

Calgary energy company Enbridge is trying to replace its massive Line 3 pipeline, which pumps oil across a large swath of northern Minnesota, with a newer, bigger pipeline.

The protesters hailed from Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America, Northfield Against Line 3, and other anti-pipeline orgs. They argue completing the pipeline and allowing more oil (760,000 barrels a day, to be exact) to gush through the state will only add to our climate change woes. They also say it’s only a matter of time before it leaks, with potentially devastating effects on the environment and the surrounding Native communities.

The protesters explained they were in Capella and not, say, the state Capitol, because Winthrop and Weinstine lawyer Eric Swanson works as a registered lobbyist for Enbridge, and spends a lot of time testifying before the state’s Public Utilities Commission. Enbridge, in fact, was Minnesota’s biggest spender on lobbying in 2018, according to the Star Tribune, with a whopping $11.1 million spent mostly on those arguments before the PUC.

Then there’s Winthrop and Weinstine’s purported financial influence. In 2019, the law firm gave thousands of dollars to a smattering of local and state campaigns, and $25,000 to Gov. Tim Walz’s inaugural committee, according to MPR. (Unlike campaign committee donations, our state’s inaugural committees have no restrictions on who can give or how much.)

In short, the problem, one protester said into the megaphone, was “the suit and tie motherfuckers going around giving money to politicians like Tim Walz.” Shortly afterward, the man with the tie and the walkie-talkie sidled up and informed the protester that “respectful language” was used “in this building.”

Walz has been difficult to pin down on Line 3. In 2017, he tweeted that any pipeline that went through treaty lands was a “non-starter.” Then, during his campaign, he said he was “satisfied” with the PUC’s decision to move forward with the project. Last year, he continued a court appeal set by the previous administration to block the pipeline project, a decision Enbridge called “unfortunate.”

The protestors aren’t willing to celebrate until he puts his foot down.

“If you take money from the fossil fuel lobby you cannot call yourself a climate progressive and you cannot expect our support,” the group said in a statement.

Mere minutes after the chanting began, a few security guards turned up and started herding the protestors toward the doors. They went willingly, seemingly unsurprised that they were being asked to leave so soon. But as they squeezed out the front doors with their signs and megaphones, they chanted, “We’ll be back.”

Gretchen Milbrath, Winthrop and Weinstine’s director of business, said the firm respected the group’s right to protest, but wouldn’t comment on the specifics.

Students Demand Stop Line 3 Action from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

from Northfield Against Line 3

Students Demand Stop Line 3 Action from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Walz refuses dialogue

Over 40 students and community members protested Governor Tim Walz’s negligence and inaction at a moderated conversation between the governor and reporter Pat Kessler, hosted by Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota this morning. Protesters shut down the forum multiple times, with different groups addressing police brutality, climate and environmental justice, and MN state investments in the fossil fuel industry?. Onstage, Walz committed to dialoguing with protesters about their concerns after the forum ended; however, at the end of the event, protesters awaiting dialogue were informed the Governor would not speak with them.

At 10:15am, activists with Justice for Jamar called out questions about police brutality and state inaction from the audience. 15 activists, including family members of police murder victims, came to confront and question Governor Walz because he has refused previous communication. There was a verbal back and forth between Justice for Jamar activists, the moderator, Pat Kessler, and the Governor himself. Protestors were forced to leave the auditorium by police.

At 10:30am, following the forced removal and detainment of several nonviolent activists for the Justice for Jamar movement, the moderator asked Walz an audience question about Line 3: “Governor, why are you choosing to willingly create a public health crisis and put Native communities at risk by failing to oppose Line 3?”

Instead of responding to the question, Walz argued that he doesn’t have jurisdiction over the choices of the Public Utilities Commission or the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He refused yet again to publicly comment on or recognize the detrimental effects of the Line 3 expansion project. If he regards the issues around climate change as seriously as he claims to, he would publicly denounce the project.

Line 3 protestors responded to the moderator’s question about the climate crisis by standing in front of the stage with banners reading “Stop Line 3” and highlighting Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Line 3 activists were told that if they left, same as the Justice for Jamar activists, there would be a one on one meeting with the Governor to address these issues. This did not occur: the commitment the governor made was a lie intended only to remove activists from the audience.

Here are our questions for Governor Walz, should he have upheld his commitment to dialogue:

  • By what date will the Dept of Commerce appeal against the Certificate of Need be refiled? If you don’t have a date yet, when will you let us know a date?
  • Can you commit to following the science rigorously on the 401 water crossing certification, and when the science shows a denial, following through on that by denying