December 15, 2020

22 water protectors arrested as Line 3 resistance grows 

Palisade, MN—The movement to stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline continues to expand statewide with nonviolent protests lead by indigenous community groups and their allies escalating as the project is challenged in court.

On Monday December 14th,  of 22 water protectors were arrested voicing opposition to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline near the Mississippi River north of Palisade, Minn. All but one of the 22 were released Tuesday afternoon from the Aitkin County Jail. This action follows another on Saturday when five people were cited by for allegedly blocking traffic at the contested site.

“When people practice their free speech rights within the law, it’s important that their rights be respected,” Executive Director Sam Grant said. “We’re deeply disturbed that the Aiken County sheriff determined that our rights were an inconvenience.”

“We are sad that Minnesotans must face arrest to protect our water while Enbridge moves ahead,” LaDuke said. “We will expect more resistance.”

“Since Gov. Waltz refuses to secure free, informed and prior consent for Line 3 from the Anishinaabe people before ruining our life sources, we are left with no choice but to put our bodies on the line to stop Line 3 and protect the water for our future generations,” said Dawn Goodwin, an Indigenous Environmental Network organizer and RISE Coalition Co-Founder. Goodwin was one of five water protectors cited Saturday near the construction site. “We are the women calling upon you to protect all that is sacred.”

Simone Senogles, a staff member of the Indigenous Environmental Network was one of the water protectors arrested on Monday .

On Sunday Dec 13, eight Minnesota legislators who oppose Line 3 visited the construction site and called for a stay on construction of Line Line while legal challenges are heard in court.

“If we want to have a livable planet for our future and the generations to come, we simply cannot build new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Senator-elect Jen McEwen of Duluth.

MN350, Honor the Earth and other pipeline opponents have fought for six years to stop Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy from building the massive Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota, from Canada’s tar sands region to Superior, Wis. The pipeline violates several treaties with the Ojibwe people that establish their right to hunt, fish, and gather along the proposed route.

Honor the Earth, two tribal nations, Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce and other pipeline opponents have asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn the Public Utilities Commission’s approval of the pipeline as illegal. They’ve also filed a request for a stay of construction while the appeal is heard.

“That Minnesotans are willing to risk arrest shows they’re fighting to protect what they love,” said MN350 Communications Director Brett Benson. “They’re standing up to say it’s time the state actually listen to Indigenous voices and start protecting our climate instead of caving to the interests of a Canadian oil giant.”

The pipeline would cross 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River twice. If built, Line 3 would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of tar sands crude oil–some of the dirtiest oil in the world–and would contribute the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. Its carbon footprint would exceed the entire state of Minnesota’s.

Health professional from Northern Minnesota and across the state have implored the Governor to pause the Enbridge corporation’s plan to deploy 4200 construction workers, mostly from out of state, to jump start the project during a spike in the COVID crisis.

Honor the Earth and Minnesota Interfaith Power &  Light have scheduled a prayer and solidarity gathering at 2 p.m. Thursday at the site of construction near Palisade.


MN350 is a statewide group with 20,000 supporters working to make Minnesota a national leader in a just transition to a clean energy economy. MN350 Action is its political and advocacy arm.