Direct Action in Minnesota as Line 3 Pipeline Approval Reversed

Near Park Rapids, MN – On Monday, June 3, 2019 three water protectors shut down work on power lines along the proposed Enbridge Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline by locking themselves to construction equipment. The same day, the Certificate of Need and Routing Permit for Enbridge’s Line 3 was “Reversed and Remanded,” by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Monday’s happenings continue years of a mixture of direct action and legal battles by environmental and indigenous groups against the proposed Line 3 project.

The lockdown was broadcasted live by the Stop Line 3 facebook page.

Part 1 of Stop Line 3 live feed gives an overview of the direct action and interviews the locked down water protectors.

Part 2 of Stop Line 3 live feed shows police in riot gear threaten arrest until people who were gathered including the streamer were forced to disperse. Lockdowns were still in place at the end of the stream.

The water protectors attached themselves with lock boxes to machinery in a non violent direct action that stopped construction of power lines being built for Line 3. While the lockdown was occurring, @ResistLine3, a twitter account that describes itself as, “Direct action to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.  shared copies of the permit applications of the construction project shut down by the water protectors direct action.

The language in the permits states that the the power lines are for Enbridge’s proposed project that’s part of a replacement project.

115 kilovolt transmission line that is needed to provide electric power to a new petroleum pump station being proposed by Enbridge Energy. The Enbridge pump station is part of a pipeline replacement project.

That proposed pump-station is intended to be attached to the new tar sands Line 3 pipeline that as of Monday morning is no longer approved in Minnesota.

While water protectors took action to shut down Line 3 construction, the paper war continued in the state as the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with a coalition of tribes, indigenous rights groups and environmental groups with an opinion which stated,

We agree that the FEIS [Final Environmental Impact Statement] is inadequate because it does not address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed. Accordingly, we reverse the commission’s adequacy determination and remand for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Enbridge stated their disappointment in a post on their website but also pointed out that the court had sided with them on eight of the nine disputes. Enbridge ended their response post by saying,

We are in the process of a detailed analysis of the court’s decision and will consult with the MPUC and other state agencies about next steps.

The courts decision wouldn’t of have stopped the construction the three water protectors took direct action to stop. A press release from the Ginew collective which describes itself as a, “a grassroots, frontlines effort led by indigenous women to protect Anishinaabe territory from the destruction of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project,” gave statements on why the three water protectors took action.

Frances Weatherall stated,

Enbridge pretends to follow the process while it is busy bulldozing through our forests and wetlands,

Frances’ sister, Mollie Weatherall, locked to same machine said,

This is a years-long plan to send more dirty tar sands through Minnesota, don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t destroy as much as they can while they wait for their final state permits,

Jonas, the third person who took direct action stated,

This is a step towards decolonization, Enbridge is carving up the planet and our government doesn’t care. Today it’s my turn to put my body between the planet I want to protect and the attacks against our water, our climate, and Native sovereignty.

The water protectors who shut down the construction site prepping ground were arrested and released from jail June 4, 2019. A bail fund was organized to support the water protectors with legal fees.

The Ginew collective’s statement also pointed out that this ongoing construction continues despite Enbridge not having water crossing permits,

Minnesota has not issued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) or DNR permits required for Line 3 construction across wetlands or water crossings. Minnesota announced the 401 water quality certification process will not be complete until fall 2019.

These actions and decisions are just the latest in a ongoing resistance in Minnesota against Enbridge’s tar sands oil project. This latest direct action, comes on the heels of years of multifaceted resistance in court rooms and in the forests of Minnesota to #StopLine3.

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