The pipeline would cross through Mississippi headwaters and twice across the Mississippi River. If the new Line 3 ruptures, then these waters could carry oil across the state, polluting wetlands, wild rice beds, forests, and farmland. Oil leaks threaten the livelihoods of the Ojibwe because the pipeline route passes through ceded territory. Treaties with the U.S. government protect this territory, where the Ojibwe people retain the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wild rice. If constructed, Line 3 would also increase our dependency on oil, leading to massive climate costs. According to the State of MN, Line 3 has a climate change cost to society of $287 billion in damage over 30 years.
Indigenous communities, landowners, water protectors, environmentalists, and thousands of other Minnesotans have been resisting this pipeline for years. Groups opposing the pipeline have built an immense record of evidence for why the pipeline is unlawful and unnecessary.
The MN Dept. of Commerce, the Pollution Control Agency, the Department of Natural Resources, the Administrative Law Judge who built the case record, and many intervening parties including sovereign indigenous nations have held that Enbridge’s project does not meet the necessary conditions under Minnesota law and should not be built as proposed.
On June 28th, 2018, Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to allow Enbridge to build the new Line 3 through one of the worst possible routes. This decision threatens our environment, our climate, and the people of Minnesota.
But the fight has only just begun.
What is tar sands oil?
Line 3 will carry several kinds of Canadian tar sands crude, a carbon intensive oil that contains up to 37% more carbon than conventional oil, giving it a far greater climate change impact. When tar sands spill, the heavy oil mixes with sediment and sinks to the bottom of a river or lake, making it very difficult to clean up. Enbridge has a long history of oil spills, averaging over one oil spill every week for the last 15 years.
What is the new route?
Line 3 will be built across some of Minnesota’s most pristine waters, permeable soils, and best wild rice lakes. This route violates treaty rights, crossing over 1855 Treaty land where indigenous people have the right to hunt, fish, and gather.
Brief history of the fight
Enbridge proposed the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project in 2014. Friends of the Headwaters, using grassroots efforts, won a lawsuit and required Enbridge to file an Environmental Impact Statement of the project. In September of 2017, The Department of Commerce gave testimony in opposition to Line 3, saying it is economically unnecessary. In April of 2018, Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly issued her recommendation that the PUC should approve a new pipeline but deny Enbridge’s preferred route, instead requiring the existing Line 3 to be replaced in-trench. Going against both of these recommendations, the Public Utility Commission approved the Certificate of Need and Route Permit for the pipeline (last June).