July 1, 2021

Growing opposition to Line 3 as Enbridge continues to prove it’s wrong for Minnesota

This week showed more evidence of growing opposition to Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline as the international conglomerate continued to prove its tar sands pipeline is wrong for Minnesota. On Monday the Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls held a free concert to support the water protectors fighting to stop the Line 3 pipeline, with Indigo Girl Amy Ray saying “This is the coolest thing we’ve ever done,” as they performed on a pontoon in the middle of the Mississippi River.

Also this week journalist Alan Weisman, winner of the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science and technology, published a commentary  in the LA Times asking, “Will Biden choose fossil fuel or Minnesota’s rivers, and a cooler planet, in the fight against Line 3?” As Weisman states with clarity:

With the Dakota Access pipeline’s permit under reconsideration and the Keystone XL pipeline canceled, Line 3 is a last gasp at keeping the filthy tar sands industry alive. The science isn’t debatable: To counter mounting climate catastrophes, and to hold global warming to the Paris accords’ limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) tar sands must stay in the ground. Anything else risks incinerating our species’ future.

MN350 Executive Director Sam Grant sees us approaching “a tipping point” as well in the fight for our climate, which he explored in a commentary published Wednesday in the Minnesota Reformer, citing not just the struggles against other pipelines but also investor victories against pro-fossil fuel interests at ExxonMobil and Chevron, a Dutch court decision ordering Shell to drastically cut carbon emissions, and others.

Sadly these victories did not extend to Line 3 where the State Court of Appeals last month failed to intervene in the deficient actions of Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission in issuing a key permit to Enbridge. He writes:

The key to understanding why the tipping point didn’t occur in Minnesota relates to the third necessary ingredient, which is the “power of context.” Here’s the context: 30% of all U.S. crude oil imports come through the state of Minnesota. The Chamber of Commerce — with a Koch Refinery lobbyist on its board — and Enbridge Energy are two of the biggest spenders on lobbying in Minnesota. In other words, the fossil fuel industry holds the power in the state of Minnesota. That’s the context. Until the public and private sectors fully awaken to their climate responsibility, the number of people demanding better will steadily increase. Even if it hasn’t arrived in Minnesota yet, the tipping point is coming.

Meanwhile Enbridge continued to prove it is wrong for Minnesota as two more of its workers  were caught in a sex trafficking sting last weekend — the second set of arrests in six months. Enbridge also changed course on its original permit and demanded an additional 5 billion gallons of Minnesota’s water for pipeline construction.

Enbridge was wrong from the beginning, and as the project moves forward it keeps proving again and again how wrong it really is for Minnesota. As Appeals Court Justice Peter Reyes wrote in his dissenting opinion in the PUC case: “Enbridge needs Minnesota for its new pipeline, but Enbridge has not shown that Minnesota needs the pipeline.”