Line 3 Pipeline Causes Controversy

A protest bus outside Minn. Public Utilities Commission hearing on Enbridge’s Line 3 in downtown St. Paul, Minn., 2018. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Dayanara Hernandez, age 16

Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline corporation, has recently faced an increase in protests from Indigenous, environmental and citizen groups in northern Minnesota opposing the replacement of the Line 3 pipeline.

The new pipeline will be 337 miles longer and will double the capacity of the current one. The project will be the most expensive tar sands pipeline in the world, costing more than $9 billion. It will transport diluted tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin, but crosses through numerous treaty-protected tribal territories and natural resources like rivers and streams, raising concerns over oil spills and environmental harm. Enbridge claims that it is safer to replace the current, outdated pipeline using modern technology and that upgrading the pipeline will help meet the country’s huge demand for oil.

Enbridge promised the pipeline would create 4,200 new jobs in Minnesota, but MPR News reported that it would only produce roughly 20 new permanent jobs.

“That’s the Enbridge way: control the police of the state of Minnesota and shove your pipeline through!”

Winona LaDuke

The route of the pipe is set to pass through three different Indigenous reservations. The Ojibwe people, who reside in treaty-protected regions, are also objecting to the plans, claiming that the proposed route under their land violates their rights to hunt fish and gather wild rice. Protesters have been met by police officers funded by Enbridge who have made over 600 arrests, mostly for trespassing and unlawful assembly. Many people perceive it as unfair that a foreign firm is managing the police in Minnesota in order to crack down on demonstrators who are fighting to defend their rights in their homeland. “​I mean, that’s the Enbridge way: control the police of the state of Minnesota and shove your pipeline through,” reported Indigenous leader Winona LaDuke to Democracy Now!

Line 3 leaked 1.7 million barrels of crude oil near Grand Rapids, Minn., in 1991, where millions of people rely on the Mississippi River’s water, according to Vox. The fact that Line 3 has a history of oil leaks fuels demonstrators’ determination to continue fighting the pipeline, which will pass more than 200 bodies of water.

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