Over 50 Water Protectors walk onto Line 3 Pipeline easement, two lock themselves to an excavator laying pipe
(FOND DU LAC) On Tuesday afternoon, two water protectors locked themselves to an excavator laying pipe on an Enbridge worksite near Cloquet, MN. They marched onto the easement with over 50 activists, shutting down construction on the Line 3 tar sands pipeline for much of the work day. The group, led by Anishinaabe warriors from Camp Migizi, then gathered at a sacred site, which has been desecrated by the pipeline’s construction, to pray.
In the words of one of the people who locked themselves to the construction equipment, Charles King, “Our state laws are not working in the public interest and for the public good. We are endangering future generations… and that’s got to stop.” The other water protector locked to the excavator, a Fond Du Lac band member, declined to comment, saying that their actions speak louder than their words.
Since construction began in November of 2020, Line 3 has been met with growing resistance from Indigenous water protectors and allies on the frontlines. Just last night, another water protector who leapt onto a section of pipe suspended over a trench, delayed construction for over seven hours before being extracted by the police.
On the political front, State Representative Ilhan Omar made a visit to the pipeline’s easement on Saturday to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities resisting the pipeline. Nationally, although President Biden recently revoked key permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, he has not taken a clear stand on Line 3, another tar sands pipeline that would be catastrophic for the climate and Indigenous sovereignty.
Line 3 violates the Treaty Rights of Anishinaabe peoples by endangering critical natural resources in the 1854, 1855, and 1867 treaty areas. It has also been decried by Indigenous communities for its role in the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives. This demographic is put at risk for sex trafficking by the presence of “man camps,” the temporary worker housing used for pipeline construction.
Water Protector Climbs onto Section of Line 3 Pipeline to Prevent Damage to Pipe
[FOND DU LAC] Late Monday afternoon, three water protectors were arrested for blocking construction of Line 3. Two of the protestors were arrested while blocking the entrance to the site, while the third, Jeff Nichols, climbed onto a section of the pipeline dangling over a trench. Jeff sat on the pipe for nearly five hours, preventing workers from putting the pipe onto frozen sand bags which would have damaged the structural integrity of the pipeline.
In a Facebook livestream from Camp Migizi, a water protector camp based out of Fond Du Lac, Jeff shared that he felt compelled to act when he saw the workers were about to put the pipe into the ground onto frozen sand bags. In the livestream, it was also shared that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, put out a mandate ordering Enbridge to not use frozen sandbags, as they force the pipe to bend, causing fractures and leading to spills.
On the livestream, Jeff can be heard saying, “It’s not even a question. This one will leak. The sandbags are frozen. You guys have already received violations for that” while other protestors shouted “all pipelines leak.”
Line 3, if built, would cross over 200 hundred bodies of water in Northern Minnesota, including the Mississippi River. Enbridge itself is responsible for numerous oil spills in Minnesota, including the largest ever inland oil spill in North America when nearly 1.7 million barrels of crude oil spilled in Grand Rapids.
For more information, contact Camp Migizi on Facebook.