Enbridge Line 3 Construction Blocked by Activists in Northern Minnesota

Two Inlets, MN – Early Wednesday morning, two people locked themselves to equipment used for Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Northern Minnesota. The action was organized by the Giniw Collective and comes days after various permits were granted in the State of Minnesota, pushing the highly controversial pipeline closer to construction.

Governor Walz said we need to act boldly on climate,” said Giniw Collective founder Tara Houska to Unicorn Riot. “Then he approved the largest tar sands infrastructure project in North America through Anishinaabe territory.

The Giniw Collective is an Indigenous-women and two-spirit led frontline resistance to protect the destruction and pollution of the Earth, according to their Facebook page. Giniw is the Anishinaabe word for golden eagle, the bird that flies the highest in the sky. In many Anishinaabe beliefs, it is the golden eagle that carries the people’s prayers to the Anishinaabe Creator, who is believed to live above the sky.

Having grown up on occupied Anishinaabe and Dakota land, I feel a responsibility to defend that land and the rights of the people who have a relationship to it,” Mira Grinsfelder, 24 of Saint Paul, Minn, said in a statement prior to locking herself up to Enbridge equipment.

If the US government won’t defend Anishinaabe treaty rights, we will. If the Minnesota government won’t protect the water, we will,” added Grinsfelder.

When asked why they would take such a risk to their safety and freedom, Betsy Foy, 20, (Saint Paul), said:

I grew up in Nebraska hearing about the devastation the Keystone pipeline would cause, so when I moved to Minnesota and learned about Line 3, I felt called to take action,

Even if I can’t stop something on my own, it’s vital to have many people in the movement standing in solidarity.

Betsy Foy, 20 of Saint Paul, Minnesota

November 12, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) approved various permits for Enbridge’s Line 3. The result brought hundreds of people in protest at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday, clashing with a pro-Trump rally with people voicing they support pipelines.

Yesterday, 12 out of 17 MPCA advisory group members resigned in protest over the approval of MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop approval for a key water permit that pushes Line 3 closer to construction.

We cannot continue to legitimize and provide cover for the MPCA’s war on black and brown people,” their resignation letter states.

Enbridge’s Line 3 is the largest project in the company’s history, and would be one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the continent, according to a statement on the company’s website. Line 3 is expected to transport up to 760,000 barrels a day through Northern Minnesota, passing through treaty lands of several Ojibwe bands.

To date, five Ojibwe bands have resisted the pipeline replace project in court: White Earth, Red Lake, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, and Leech Lake. Canada, North Dakota, and Wisconsin have all approved their segments of the pipeline.

If his [Governor Walz’s] administration won’t stand up to big oil, we will,” added Houska.

Cover image via Giniw Collective.

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