Water Protectors Lock Down Inside Line 3 Pipeline

pics via Giniw Collective

cross-posted from the Giniw Collective

(Backus, MN) Thursday morning, water protectors locked to each other inside a Line 3 pipe segment, halting construction at an Enbridge worksite as dozens more held space.

The site is a few miles from a large Enbridge man camp operating in the township of Backus, Minnesota. Enbridge is working 24 hours per day at several worksites, as a pending injunction to halt work while tribally-led lawsuits are heard has yet to be decided.

According to several cultural site maps, numerous sacred and significant sites lie in the path of the Line 3 project.

Water Protector Abby Hornberger said, “After moving to Minnesota to attend college and study environmental science, I was excited to be in a place where people valued protecting the earth and finding a viable future. What I found, however, was a state that had formed “ambitious” climate goals yet endorsed one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, tar sands oil. I realized that indigenous ways of knowing and practicing harmony with the environment are continuously ignored. The Line 3 pipeline far outweighs all clean energy initiatives and progress being made in renewable energies. Line 3 will destroy Minnesota’s essential clean water resources for future generations and will ultimately drive us into climate doom. Education and spreading awareness is no longer enough to create meaningful change for me.”
Hornberger continued, “Enbridge’s last ditch effort to build fossil fuel infrastructure is killing people and the planet. I refuse to be complicit in settler colonialist practices, and feel that I have to put my body on the line to protect indigenous communities’ sovereignty and all of our futures. This is not just an issue relevant to some, it affects each of us on a deeper level that goes beyond our daily lives. It determines if we will have a livable future.” Continue reading

Rising Tide Chicago Bird-dogs JPMorgan Chase Board Member Again!

cross-posted from Rising Tide Chicago

We all know Chase’s new policy on Arctic drilling is the babiest of steps; so Rising Tide Chicago birddogged Mellody Hobson, a Chase Bank boardmember who claims to be inspired by social movements like youth uprisings and the anti-Apartheid movement, and concerned about migrant child detention.

We gave her a copy of RAN’s follow-up letter before the dinner, and then got on the mic to ask a follow-up question: “Mellody Hobson, you praised the leadership of the students here tonight, while all young people face a catastrophic future precisely because of Chase bank’s investments in the fossil fuel industry. Chase Banks recent policy limiting arctic oil drilling is a start but we need you to use your leverage to stop all fossil fuel investments. As a Boardmember, will you respond to the demands and next steps we outlined in time for the AGM?”

Unfortunately, she gave us the exact same answer as last time, stating that what happens in the boardroom is private information, but that they look to “serve all their constituents.”

Last month, we asked her to read the 2019 Banking on Climate Change Report and she heard us out. Now that we know she won’t change her line, we’ll have to keep up the pressure.

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