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Enbridge Energy announced this week that the construction of the Line 3 pipeline has been completed, and oil will start flowing Monday. Protesters have fought the pipeline since Minnesota regulators approved the project back in 2015, arguing against its violation of Indigenous rights, harm to waterways and wild rice, and climate impact. The tar sands it will carry over 1,000 miles from Canada to Wisconsin use more energy and create more emissions than other types of oil. Even without oil flowing, Line 3 has already recorded 28 drilling fluid spills and disrupted water levels by pumping billions of gallons of water for construction, further threatening aquatic life.
Why This Matters: The Line 3 project has carried on despite its core justice and climate issues. Indigenous leaders have been at the forefront of opposition to the project, which runs directly through their land. It threatens Indigenous sovereignty, marine biodiversity, and the broader climate. Line 3 is double the capacity of the line it’s replacing, increasing emissions just as the nation makes ambitious commitments to clean energy.
I think that tribes are going to be enacting their own laws. Tribes are going to take the bull by the horns and call state actors in their official capacities into the tribal court — not for any money damages, but for injunctive relief to stop what they’ve been permitting.
Another hope for Line 3’s demise is revoking its water permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, but this past summer, the Biden Administration defended the permit. Indigenous leaders at the forefront of protests against the pipeline — which were met with violent policing — have also vowed to keep fighting.
The Line 3 fight is far from over; it has just shifted gears. Do not think we are going quietly into the night. We will continue to stand on the frontlines until every last tar sands pipeline is shut down and Indigenous communities are no longer targeted but our right to consent or denial is respected.
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