Last Saturday morning, hundreds of activists gathered outside the Governor’s Residence to protest the approval of the 401 water quality certification for the Line 3 Pipeline. This permit, which was granted on Thursday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, would allow Enbridge to cross 730 acres of wetlands and more than 200 streams in northern Minnesota.
This is the penultimate authorization required by Enbridge before it can officially begin construction on its controversial tar sands pipeline. The 401 permit will be sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure it complies with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. That agency must complete their review process before the MPCA will consider the pipeline’s Construction Stormwater Permit.
Line 3 has been under fire from activists and water protectors since its proposal in 2014. At the protest this morning, demonstrators denounced a number of issues associated with the project, including violations of Indigenous treaty rights, endangerment of wild rice, the correlation between construction (which involves building large man camps for pipeline workers) and sex and drug trafficking, as well as the murders and disapearances of Indigenous women. As a tar sands pipeline, the impacts of Line 3 on global greenhouse emissions, loss of native forests, and destruction of Minnesota wetlands and bodies of water are irreparable.
In the words of Taysha Martineau, a member of Fond du Lac tribe, “Today we are meeting at the Governor’s residence to show solidarity with all Indigenous communities that will be affected by the Line 3 pipeline. When Infrastructure such as Line 3 goes up, the statistics of violence against Indigenous women increase by 22 percent… When Tim Walz put pen to paper, he was educated on these statistics, and himself, Laura Bishop and Peggy Flanagan chose to ignore those voices. We echo those voices and turn those whispers today into screams, shouting with indignation as ongoing injustice against Indigenous people continues in America today.”
At the event, demonstrators formed a large picket line, distributed masks, and remained six feet apart to abide by COVID gathering restrictions. During the demonstration the Line 3 Pledge of Resistance was distributed among demonstrators, who committed to take action against the construction of this pipeline.
Looking forward, legal battles will continue, including challenges to Thursday permits in court, as well as an appeal from the Public Utilities Commission, which argues that the MPCA relied on an incorrect demand forecast when assessing financial need of the pipeline.
Once begun, Enbridge claims that pipeline construction will take between six to nine months to complete. As a result, water protectors are gearing up for a frontline battle, saying, “If you don’t stop Line 3, we will.”
For more information and live updates, call Genna Mastellone at 917-715-0670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For photos and videos of the event as it happens, check out organizers’ social media accounts.