In the latest act of peaceful resistance to Canadian oil giant Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project, three water protectors in Savanna State Forest, Minnesota blockaded more than a dozen active worksites on Wednesday morning.
“For generations, multinational corporations have duped us all with their hush money. No more. We are waking up. Our silence will not be bought.”
—Big Wind, Northern Arapaho Tribe
Two of the environmental and human rights activists impeded further construction of the fossil fuel pipeline by locking themselves to an overturned vehicle on a road leading to multiple worksites, the Giniw Collective explained in a statement.
Big Wind, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and one of the participants in Wednesday’s actions, said that “as a tribal citizen from an ‘oil and gas tribe,’ I know we are not devoid from the societal norms that prioritiz[e] profit over the planet.”
“For generations, multinational corporations have duped us all with their hush money,” they added. “No more. We are waking up. Our silence will not be bought.”
Danny Leclaire of the Shosone-Bannock Tribe, another participant in Wednesday’s actions, said that “Line 3 would ruin the drinking water of millions downstream.”
The third protester—a water protector named Rose who ascended nearly 40 feet in the air on a bi-pod blocking an entry road to several worksites—called Line 3 “a disease of greed and destruction.”
“I want to live in a world where we are deeply connected to the land and the water,” said Rose. “I am taking a risk as an act of love for the forest, the wetlands, the rivers, and the lakes I grew up with. I am proud to stand with those Indigenous to this land who are fighting for all of our futures.”
BREAKING: Water Protectors Blockade Over a Dozen Line 3 Worksites! Early this morning in Savanna State Forest, 2 Indigenous Water protectors locked into a blockade while another ascended nearly 40ft in the air in a bi-pod. Our fight for our Mother Earth continues #StopLine3 pic.twitter.com/rP25exKloB
— giniw collective (@GiniwCollective) February 24, 2021
As Common Dreams has reported, climate justice and Indigenous rights advocates are opposed to the expansion of the Line 3 pipeline because it would send 760,000 barrels of crude oil every day from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota, to Wisconsin—traversing more than 800 wetland habitats, violating the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples, and putting current and future generations at risk of polluted water and a degraded environment.
Since Enbridge began working on the pipeline in late 2020 despite pending lawsuits, opponents have attempted to halt construction through civil disobedience, with arrests being made last December as well as this January and February.
“We have an obligation to future generations to stop this madness.”
—Danny Leclaire, Shosone-Bannock Tribe
Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who said publicly in February of 2019 that projects like this one “don’t just need a building permit to go forward, they also need a social permit,” has been widely condemned for giving Enbridge the green light to continue working on Line 3 even though it has been described as “a tar sands climate bomb,” and activists have pressured Walz to rescind the permit for the pipeline.
While the Minnesota Court of Appeals earlier this month denied a request to halt construction as legal battles continue, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—who met with Enbridge opponents in late January—has urged President Joe Biden to shut down Line 3 as he did the Keystone XL pipeline, given that both projects spell ecological and social destruction.
“Protect the water, protect the Mississippi,” said Leclaire. “We have an obligation to future generations to stop this madness.”