Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Three activists early Monday locked themselves to a valve site after manually stopping the flow of tar sands oil through Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline. (Photo: Nicky Young/ Ricochet Media)

Three activists early Monday locked themselves to a valve site after manually stopping the flow of tar sands oil through Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline. (Photo: Nicky Young/ Ricochet Media)

Activists Manually Halt Flow of Tar Sands Oil Through Canadian Pipeline

Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline declared an affront to Indigenous sovereignty, as well as the planet

Lauren McCauley

Three Canadian activists were arrested early Monday after manually stopping the flow of tar sands oil in Enbridge's controversial Line 9, protesting the pipeline as an affront to Indigenous sovereignty, as well as the planet.

The individuals reportedly bike-locked themselves to a valve site just outside of Sarnia in southwestern Ontario after using the hand wheel to stem the flow.  Police took the three activists, identified as members of the group Rising Tide North America, into custody after removing the bike locks.

Tar sands oil began flowing through the Line 9 pipeline earlier this month after Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) approved the pipeline's reversal, allowing it to carry tar sands diluted bitumen ("dilbit") and fracked Bakken crude from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal.

The approval came despite the fact that Indigenous groups are in the midst of a Supreme Court challenge against the pipeline, arguing that the government failed to consult with the land holders.

"It’s clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide," said Vanessa Gray, an activist from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, who was among those arrested. "I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend against anything that threatens my traditions and culture."

The action is the latest step in a longstanding face-off between pipeline opponents and the Canadian government.

Last week, more than 80 Indigenous and environmental groups sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking to halt the flow of oil through Line 9 until a proper review can be performed.

"Line 9 poses significant risks to the health and wellbeing of millions of Canadians," the letter stated. "Given your renewed commitments to protecting the environment including the mitigation of runaway climate change as well as your commitments to respecting Indigenous rights, we are calling upon the federal government to restructure the NEB review process. We urge the federal government to halt the Line 9 project until it can be subjected to a subsequent review under more robust, transparent, and democratic conditions."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Future of Clean Water on the Line' as Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Bedrock Law

"If the Supreme Court excludes Clean Water Act protections from major wetlands and other waters," one climate group warned, "the damage to water quality, flood control, and wildlife habit would be severe."

Jake Johnson ·


'We Will Be on the Streets': Lula Vows Resolve as Brazil Heads Toward Runoff

"We don't have a break. We are going to work hard," said the leftist former president. "And we have 28 more days."

Jake Johnson ·


Brazil Votes Live: Lula Wins the First Round Over Far-Right Bolsonaro; Runoff Oct. 30

Lula took the lead as more rural votes counted but failed to reach 50%

Common Dreams staff ·


'Enough is Enough': Hundreds of Thousands March Across the UK

'As wages fall while profits soar, our message is clear... We are here to win.'

Common Dreams staff ·


California Gov. Newsom Proposes Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil

Calls for windfall profits taxes have increased globally in recent weeks

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo