Indigenous led Enbridge Line 3 Protests

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Indigenous led Enbridge Line 3 Protests

Enbridge's line 3 which runs from Hardisty Alberta to Wisconsin was built in 1968. Like the Trans Mountain pipeline, it is being expanded under the Trudeau government in a $5.3 billion construction project, with the Canadian portion to Manitoba already finished at the end of last year in order to carry an additional 150,000 barrels per day of tarsands oil  and a doubling of the pipeline's capacity to 750,000 barrels a day if the American section is completed.(

The largest inland oil spill in US history was along Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, giving little confidence that the company will pay much attention to the environment or spills, as so often in its past.

"A study authored by over a dozen climate justice organizations found that the greenhouse gas emissions from constructing the new Line 3 pipeline would be equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants. The EIS estimated that the social cost of carbon from those emissions would total more than $120 billion over 30 years. (

 Once again there are environmental activists, led by indigenous people, attempting to stop this expansion in the United States that includes tunnelling under the Mississippi with all the dangers that that presents in terms of oil spills.


Water protectors rally against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Park Rapids, Minn., on March 15, 2021.Water protectors rally against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Park Rapids, Minn., on March 15, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Honor The Earth

Enbridge, the Canadian energy-transport firm, is planning to route its Line 3 pipeline under the Mississippi, near where it crosses Highway 40. In winter, a pollution-control rule bars drilling under the frozen waters. As the ice melts away, so do the restrictions. Those organizing against the project worry that Enbridge could begin tunneling under the Mississippi and other local rivers any day — and the pipeline-resistance movement is getting ready for it.

“They got a lot of money, they got a lot of equipment, but we got a lot of people,” said Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke at an event last week with actor and activist Jane Fonda, which took place in front of the flowing Crow Wing River, not far from where Enbridge seeks to drill under its shores. “Spring is coming. Let’s be outdoorsy.” ...

Enbridge’s Line 3 project began construction four months ago. It was designed to replace a decaying pipeline of the same name; however, a large portion of its 338-mile Minnesota section, which makes up most of the U.S. route, plows through new land and waters. The project would double Line 3’s capacity for carrying tar sands oil, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the world, at a moment when a rapid shift away from fossil fuels has become critical to address the climate crisis.

The delicate waterway ecosystems through which the pipeline passes have become the central organizing point of the anti-pipeline, or water protector, movement. Hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands face the specter of a tar sands leak after the replacement Line 3 begins operating. And the particularly intensive form of drilling required to tunnel the pipeline under rivers holds its own set of risks during construction. ...

Those same waters are central to the Anishinaabe people’s identity, and Anishinaabe women have led opposition to the Line 3 project. Over the past year, women and nonbinary people have organized small camps near planned construction sites. In recent weeks, they’ve led a steady schedule of gatherings and ceremonies at the edges of rivers, with some organizing more obstructive protests, known as direct actions, aimed at slowing pipeline construction. With spring on the horizon, pipeline opponents are poised to take even more obstinate stands to block construction at the river crossings.

Law enforcement agencies, with Enbridge’s support, are also preparing for the time when the rivers open up. Documents obtained by The Intercept confirm that local sheriff’s offices have for months been practicing for direct actions focused on the Mississippi River. ...

An escrow account set up by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and funded by Enbridge, primarily to cover the costs of policing pipeline resistance, has distributed more than $500,000 to law enforcement agencies as of March 15. ...

People’s greatest fears, however, center around what could happen once the workers leave the construction site: a spill. The largest inland oil spill in U.S. history happened in 1991 in nearby Grand Rapids, Minnesota; 1.7 million gallons of crude oil spilled from Line 3, the same pipeline that Enbridge is now replacing. In 2010, a Michigan community suffered a huge spill from another Enbridge pipeline.



Environmental and indigenous protesters are continuing to blockade the construction of a new Enbridge Line 3 pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Alberta to Manitoba and onward to North Dakota, Minnesta and Wisconsin. Thanks to the Trudeau Liberals the doubling of this pipeline's capacity has already occurred between Alberta and Manitoba, while indigenous and environmental groups have held it up for a while in court in the US and now are blockading construction in Minnesota.

Once again Trudeau's promised cut in greenhouse gas emissions are betrayed by his actions, carrying on a Liberal tradition that dates back to Chretien's Kyoto Accord promises in 1997 and later to the Martin government's actions. 

People walk around a construction site.

Activists occupy construction equipment at the Two Inlets pump station in Minnesota Monday.

Protesters fighting a Canadian-based Enbridge company’s push to replace an aging oil pipeline across northern Minnesota maintained a blockade at a pump station Tuesday as part of a summer drive to stop the project before it can go into service.

Two protesters spent the night in a boat blocking the entrance to the construction site, while one was underneath, tucked in behind duffel bags, beach chairs, water bottles and clothing. A Hubbard County sheriff’s deputy and a handful of private security guards stood by.

The pumping station near Park Rapids was a major focus of protests Monday, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police made arrests. Law enforcement officials planned to release arrest figures later Tuesday. Some activist groups put the number at over 100.

Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy’s  plan to replace Line 3 would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, and claim treaty rights. The line would cross the Mississippi River while carrying Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Wisconsin.

Enbridge says the original pipeline – built in the 1960s – is deteriorating and can run at only about half its original capacity. It says the new line, made from stronger steel, will better protect the environment while restoring its capacity and ensuring reliable deliveries to U.S. refineries Protesters said the Treaty People Gathering was the largest show of resistance yet to the project. They also rallied Monday at the headwaters of the Mississippi, roughly 20 minutes away, chanting “Stop Line 3!” and “Water is life!” ...

Calgary-based Enbridge this month began a final construction push on Line 3, which clips a corner of North Dakota on its way across northern Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The Canadian and Wisconsin replacement segments are already carrying oil.


Here's more on the Line 3  pipeline protests aimed at stopping the Trudeau government's goal of doubling the pipeline's capacity to carry tarsands oil from Alberta to Manitoba, which is already completed, and onward to North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

People surround a person laying on a machine.

People surround a person laying on a machine. A group of activists sit under a shade as two others sit locked to a piece of construction equipment at the pump station Monday.

For several years now, environmental and tribal groups battling the Line 3 oil pipeline have fought the project in front of state regulators, in the courts and on the streets.

They've dotted the route with resistance camps, and they've chained themselves to branches of banks with ties to the project.

Their opposition so far hasn't stopped the pipeline. Enbridge Energy says it is more than halfway through building the $4 billion project across northern Minnesota.

“To see people engaging in personal risk like this, and to see so many young people and folks of all walks of life, it's so beautiful and powerful,” said Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective, one of dozens of groups that organized the week’s actions. “It's an incredible moment.”

The Indigenous-led, multiday event, called the Treaty People Gathering, began over the weekend and is expected to reach into the week, with prayer, marches and direct action. 

Organizers say they hope to draw attention to the fight against the pipeline that they argue will exacerbate climate change and threaten the waters of treaty lands in northern Minnesota.  Their goal is to push the Biden administration to stop the Line 3 project, as it did the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Without direct action, and people engaging in personal risk,” Houska said, “the pressure just isn't there.” ...

Enbridge is replacing its current Line 3 oil pipeline, which is corroding and requires extensive maintenance, with a new pipe along a different route across northern Minnesota that will be able to carry about twice as much oil as the current line. ...

This type of protest has several goals, she said. 

"One is to to shut it down to shut down work, which we've successfully done,” the woman said, “and to cost Enbridge time and money and to raise a lot of awareness about the urgency of stopping this pipeline and get as much attention drawn to it as we can."


Protests are continuing along the Line 3 pipeline from Canada in Minnesota. Thousands were protesting last week and 250 were arrested. More arrests have occcurred this week. Trudeau's doubling of Line 3 capacity from Alberta to the American border has led to this and further illustrates his hypocrisy in claiming there is an environmental crisis while increasing fossil fuel production and pipeline capacity.

Anti-pipeline protesters march from the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Protesters who oppose the pipeline march from the Capitol toward InterContinental hotel in St. Paul Minnesota.

Opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline project in northwestern Minnesota continued their protests this week by disrupting traffic in front of an Enbridge equipment site, leading to 31 arrests.

Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said the incident began about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when a van pulled in front of the semi-trailer and forced it to stop on a county highway. One woman crawled under the semi and attached herself to the rear axle and another person clipped on to an item on top of the trailer, Aukes said.

Several carloads of protesters arrived and gathered on the side of the roadway, at which point Aukes said they were told by deputies they were breaking Minnesota’s public nuisance and unlawful assembly laws. Aukes said deputies began arresting demonstrators after they began “yelling vulgarities, being a traffic hazard, and refusing to leave.”

The protesters were brought to the Hubbard County Jail, where they were charged with public nuisance, unlawful assembly, and disorder.

The Line 3 replacement would carry oilsands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wis. The project is nearly done except for the Minnesota leg, which is about 60 per cent complete.