• Avani Sood

Stopping Line 3

Line 3 is a pipeline created by Embridge, a natural gas distribution company, that carries crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. It crosses northern Minnesota, going through the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Native American reservations and 1855, 1854, and l842 treaty areas; areas of land that the Anishinaabe Indigenous peoples ceded over to the government in exchange for payments, rights, and reservations.

The pipeline It was built with defective steel in 1961l, has had numerous fissures and spills and is at half pressure because of severe corrosion. Enbridge has decided to abandon the pipeline in the ground forever, instead of repairing or removing it and create a brand new pipeline through lakes, wetlands, wild rice beds, and the heart of Anishinaabe treaty territory.

The new Line 3 pipeline would cost $7.5 billion and would be one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the world, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day. The pipeline would create more negative effects on the climate and indigenous people, than profit, as the oilsands industry has actually been in decline since 2014.

Major Issues with Line 3

Indigenous Rights

The proposal to build a new Line 3 is a violation of the fundamental principle of sovereignty, as the Indigenous people in the path of the project oppose it. Minnesota does not have the consent of impacted tribes along the pipeline path and does not have jurisdiction over tribal lands, including ceded territories.

On ceded territory, Anishinaaberg people have land-use rights, which include the rights to hunt, fish, gather plants, cultivate wild rice, and preserve culturally significant sites. Line 3 would violate these rights by endangering critical natural and cultural resources in the treaty areas, and therefore threatening “the culture, way of life, and physical survival” of the Indigenous people.

Climate Change

Building Line 3 would be roughly equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants, based on the amount of carbon the pipeline would carry. Additionally, the state of Minnesota calculated the "social cost of carbon" for Line 3 to be $287 billion, for the first 30 years of the pipeline's life. Further, The large amount of electricity needed to power the pipeline makes Enbridge the largest energy consumer in Minnesota, with a total energy demand equal to the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant.

Construction Impacts

“Man camps” are temporary housing facilities built to accommodate predominantly male construction workers. Research has documented a direct relationship between these camps and increased drug and sex trafficking, and violent crime. These camps can foster a culture of drug and alcohol abuse, violence, misogyny, and racism, which has devastating results for nearby communities, as man camps are considered one of many causes of the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), of which Minnesota is one of the hardest-hit regions.

Wild rice is the primary economic, nutritional, and cultural resource of the Anishinaabe. When they migrated here from the east, they were guided by prophecies that instructed them to go “where the food grows on the water.” Construction of Line 3 would impact a total of 389 acres of wild rice in 17 different wild rice water bodies, which would mean the destruction of staple food for the Indigenous people. Line 3 would also endanger clean drinking water for the Indigenous tribes. Further, because the pipeline cuts through the lake and wild rice country, and traditional trade routes, it endangers a multitude of historic, archaeological, cultural, and sacred sites of the Anishinaabeg, the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota, and many other ethnic and cultural groups.

No Economic Need for Line 3

Because of high extraction costs and low oil prices, tar sands is a dying industry, and many companies are withdrawing investments. Many tar sands companies have gone bankrupt, and a 2016 Deloitte report estimated that about one-third of all oil producers were at risk of bankruptcy.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce conducts economic analysis to determine whether a new Line 3 is needed. Their formal testimony in Line 3 was done by Dr. Marie Fagan and Dr. O’Connell, who showed that this project had very little benefit for Minnesota. The conclusion of the analysis was that “Enbridge has not established a need for the proposed project; the pipeline would primarily benefit areas outside Minnesota, and serious environmental and socioeconomic risks and effects outweigh limited benefits.”

Abandonment Issues

Pipeline abandonment also has a large environmental impact. As it corrodes, the pipe will slowly allow water to enter, and eventually transform into a water conduit that could easily drain a wetland or small lake, or flood a farm field. Unnatural drainage of areas would affect the natural balance of the ecosystem and increase the risk of soil and water contamination. Any water that infiltrates the pipeline is likely to carry residual contaminants left in the abandoned pipeline as it flows.

Take Action

Long-standing grassroots resistance to the pipeline has entered a new phase with public actions in multiple locations and dozens of arrests of peaceful water protectors. Native American Anishinaabe organizations have led the movement with groups such as Giniw Collective, Honor the Earth, Rise Coalition, and Gitchi Gumi Scouts leading public demonstrations along the construction route.

How to Help

  1. Write to the Army Corps of Engineers and urge them to stop the pipeline development: A template can be found at https://www.stopline3.org/take-action

  2. Write to President Biden and tell him to stop line 3: Another template can be found at https://www.stopline3.org/biden

  3. Donate to Honor the Earth, a nonprofit that raises awareness and financial support for Indigenous environmental justice: https://donorbox.org/line-3

  4. Educate others by sharing the following factsheets and Line 3 information with your community: https://www.stopline3.org/resources

  5. Order lawn signs to spread awareness: https://www.honortheearthmerchandise.com/yardsigns/protectourwater

  6. Tell banks to stop funding Line 3 construction: https://stopthemoneypipeline.com/announcing-the-defundline3-campaign/?fbclid=IwAR3TuvuUWnSVx8cn-BDUCSHy2R5KBZ-lq3otKj4jM-zDjmME13dLpP4uClA

  7. Sign the Statement of Opposition to Line 3: https://actionnetwork.org/widgets/v3/form/stop-line-3-pledge-of-resistance

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Research Coordinator - Sachi Gosal

Editor - Vaishnavi Bhojane

Graphic Designer - Akshaya Shankarganesh