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Direct actions, #PaddleToProtect & Camp Turtle Island challenge Trudeau-backed Line 3 pipeline


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in November 2016, but resistance to it being built is growing.

The building of Line 3 would mean 1,600 kilometres of new pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior Wisconsin, which is situated on the western tip of Lake Superior. The original 390,000 barrel per day Line 3 pipeline was built in 1968 and would be decommissioned and left underground. The new larger pipeline would carry 760,000 barrel per day and would have the capacity to carry diluted bitumen for 50-60 years. Enbridge admits the pipeline would mean 19 to 26 megatonnes of upstream greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Construction on the pipeline has now begun in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Wisconsin, while the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will not make its final decision on the pipeline until April 30, 2018.

Direct actions in Wisconsin

The Duluth News Tribune reports, “Six people were arrested on trespassing charges [on August 29] after their protest stopped work on a segment of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline construction in rural Douglas County [in Wisconsin]. People identifying themselves as water protectors shut down heavy equipment operations for a third time in nine days near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, southwest of Superior. …The protests were calling for the removal of Line 3. …[The pipeline] is currently under construction in Canada and Wisconsin, and awaiting the outcome of a review process in Minnesota.”

The article adds, “Three of those arrested, who all were between ages 23-38, were listed as being from Cloquet [in Minnesota]; the others were from Michigan, South Dakota and Saskatchewan.”

Water protectors also shut down construction on the pipeline in Wisconsin for several hours on August 21.

#PaddleToProtect in Minnesota

The Associated Press has previously reported, “[Line 3] would cut through the Mississippi River headwaters region and the pristine lake country of northern Minnesota, where Ojibwe bands harvest wild rice and hold treaty rights. …The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and the National Congress of American Indians are among the native groups that have passed formal resolutions against the project.”

Tomorrow (September 2) Indigenous youth will complete their 22-day 400 kilometre canoe voyage through the Mississippi headwaters in opposition to the pipeline.

The Stop Line 3 website notes, “This epic journey culminates at the historic Big Sandy Lake [in Minnesota], where hundreds of Ojibwe people died of starvation, exposure, and disease, after the US Government failed to deliver the rations and annuities in 1850. Line 3 threatens the Big Sandy and Flowage watershed, a vital wild rice bed that local communities depend on to this day. The youth have invited local leaders to speak about the urgency of joining together to protect our water.”

Water Protector Camp in Minnesota

And Camp Turtle Island has been established at the intersection of County 4 and Highway 113 at the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Their website notes, “The wild ricing season begins at the end of [August], the camp will be focused on gathering natural foods and medicines before winter comes so that we can feed the local community, the camp, and other water protector camps around the US and Canada.”

In Canada

The Qu’Appelle Valley Environmental Association (QVEA) in Saskatchewan has stated, “[The Line 3 pipeline] will crisscross fourteen of our watercourses, including our major rivers – tunneling under the South Saskatchewan River, south of Outlook, and under the Qu’Appelle River, near Bethune.”

Furthermore, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs along with the Ochapowace, Keeseekoose, George Gordon and Pasqua First Nations in Saskatchewan have all expressed concerns about the pipeline.

The Council of Canadians first expressed opposition to the building of the new Line 3 pipeline in March 2014 and stands in solidarity with Canadian, American and Indigenous campaigns to stop the pipeline.