Line 3 Opponents Ramp Up Efforts Along MN Construction Route
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Scores of protesters have gathered in northern Minnesota in hopes of halting the Line 3 oil pipeline project. Native American activists and their allies want to stop construction as the work nears a final phase.
In what's being billed as a Treaty People Gathering, opponents this week rallied at the headwaters of the Mississippi River before marching to an area where the pipeline and river meet. Protesters say they're engaging in civil disobedience, including attempts to block a pumping station.
Tara Houska, tribal attorney and environmental and Indigenous rights advocate, livestreamed from some of the events, noting the movement centers around protecting natural resources for tribal communities.
"What's really important to us is our water, our lives, our children, our futures, the animals, the plants, the sacred all around us," Houska asserted.
Organizers expected crowds of at least 1,500. The latest opposition efforts come amid an expected court ruling this month on a challenge to the state's approval of Line 3.
The project is being carried out by Canada-based Enbridge Energy, which argued the move is needed because the existing line is aging, while adding Line 3 creates thousands of jobs. Construction is already past the halfway point.
A group calling itself Minnesotans for Line 3 issued a statement criticizing the protests, while claiming the new line will make it safer to transport energy, but Houska and the many opponents who have gathered in the region say they remain undeterred.
"Beautiful water protectors from all walks of life, standing together, standing strong, standing up for Mother Earth," Houska remarked.
Opponents continue to pressure President Joe Biden to intervene. They say the construction disregards Native American treaty rights. They also say Line 3 would cross more than 200 bodies of water in Minnesota, including dozens of wild rice lakes, as well as sensitive watersheds.
Media outlets with reporters at the scene of the protest, including Minnesota Public Radio, said authorities moved in late Monday to arrest protesters inside the pump station, as hundreds of other activists faced off with law enforcement outside the facility.
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