October 8, 2021
Remember the Keystone XL pipeline? Well, if you thought that was bad, wait until you hear about the Line 3 pipeline expansion in Minnesota. It’s a proposed $7.5 billion project that, if completed, will carry almost a million barrels of dirty, climate-polluting tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, across sensitive habitats, crucial wetlands and waterways, sacred Indigenous sites, and tribal lands.
The pipeline is a disaster for the climate, the environment, and Indigenous rights. The Ojibwe people, whose land the route crosses, have said NO to Line 3 but, in violation of their sovereignty, construction continues anyway.
Grassroots activism helped end Keystone XL. Together, we can do the same to Line 3. This Indigenous Peoples’ Day, tell President Biden to shut it down now.
Here are four reasons why Line 3 has to go.
Take Action Now!
Line 3 is trespassing on land that Indigenous people have called home for thousands of years. Even though tribal nations oppose Line 3, it’s being built anyway. That’s a violation of their sovereignty, as guaranteed by the US Constitution. The pipeline’s path further violates the right—established by treaties that have stood for hundreds of years—of the Indigenous people along its path to “make a modest living from the land.”
By disrupting, damaging, and potentially polluting sacred wild rice beds, Line 3 breaks those treaties and threatens the Ojibwe’s way of life. As those fighting to stop Line 3 have said, wild rice “is our sacred food. Without it we will die. It’s that simple.”
The influx of thousands of pipeline workers has also had a huge impact on the lives of Indigenous women. They have faced an increase in incidents of harassment, abuse, and sexual violence. “There’s certainly connections between how we treat the land and how we treat the women,” said Nicole Matthews, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition.
With time running out to halt Line 3, police are ramping up their harassment of and violence against protesters. What makes this situation even worse is that they’re being bankrolled by Enbridge, Line 3’s Canada-based parent company.
Frontline communities and Indigenous activists have been peacefully protesting Line 3 for years. But now, as the pipeline nears completion, police are using pepper spray and rubber bullets against the hundreds of people who have come to stand against the project. Law enforcement officials have even shared intelligence they’ve gathered on organizers and activists with Enbridge. Bail is being set absurdly high for activists who have been arrested. A Border Patrol helicopter was brought in to perform multiple low-flying maneuvers and blast protesters with dust and debris.
Enbridge is a foreign-based company looking to make a profit by trampling on the rights of Indigenous people in the US. We think companies paying police to assault protesters is bad news.
Alberta, Canada’s tar sands is one of the dirtiest sources of oil on the planet. An area about the size of Florida will be destroyed extracting that oil, and producing it releases three times as much greenhouse gas pollution as conventional oil production. The latest IPCC climate report makes it really clear: We are almost out of time if we want to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. To survive the climate crisis, we must halt the use of fossil fuels and drastically cut our greenhouse gas emissions. We have to keep tar sands oil in the ground.
Building Line 3 would be roughly equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants. The state of Minnesota calculated that the “social cost” of the pipeline (a measurement of how much it will contribute to climate change’s impact on society) will be $287 billion over its first 30 years. But considering all the damage Line 3 will do (like locking in a future of ever-intensifying heat, droughts, flooding, and rising seas), we—as well as future generations and the planet itself—will no doubt be paying a much steeper price than that.
Clean Water and the Environment
Enbridge has had more than 1,000 spills, including one in 2010 that dumped almost a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. Back in 1991 the original Line 3 (built in the 1960s) was responsible for the worst inland oil spill in the history of the US. According to a US Department of Transportation study, there’s a 57% chance of a major spill for a typical pipeline over any 10-year period. Research has also shown that pipelines carrying tar sands oil are more likely to leak than those carrying conventional oil—and that tar sands leaks are more damaging to the environment.
Think about that when you read this: The Line 3 expansion crosses 800 wetlands and 200 bodies of water (including the Mississippi River). An oil or chemical spill would devastate crucial ecosystems and natural habitats and threaten the drinking water of everyone along the pipeline’s path. As for the original corroding, leaking Line 3, Enbridge’s preferred plan is to leave it right where it is—another environmental disaster in the making.
It’s Time to Take a Stand
If we want to defend Indigenous rights, end police violence, fight the climate crisis, and protect the environment and clean drinking water, then we must stand alongside frontline and Indigenous communities in their fight against Line 3.
There’s no time to lose: It must be shut down now. This Indigenous Peoples’ Day, tell President Biden to stop Line 3!
Take Action Now!
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