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Activists Stage Blockade to Block Work on Line 3 as Court Tosses Out Proposed Pipeline's Approval From Regulators

Small defeat for tar sands pipeline welcomed as "such great news"

A person's shirt reads: " A fossil fuels future is no future. Stop Line 3."

A protester stands outside the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearing on Enbridge's Line 3 in downtown St. Paul. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

Enbridge's Line 3 was dealt a setback by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday while a trio of water protectors sustained strong resistance to the project by locking themselves to machinery to block work on the proposed oil pipeline.

The three-judge panel, with one of the judges objecting, reversed the approval that the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave last year to the Calgary-based company's environmental impact statement, calling it "inadequate because it didn't address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed."

Advocacy group Environment Minnesota celebrated the development on Twitter, writing, "This is such great news."

The decision means the statement goes back to PUC, as the Star Tribune reported.

As Common Dreams previously reported,

The Line 3 project, which Calgary-based Enbridge says is its largest ever, would replace a cracked and corroded crude oil pipeline installed in the 1960s with a 1,031-mile pipeline that would run from Canada's Alberta tar sands to a Wisconsin shipping hub. If constructed, it would cut through Native American reservations and treaty lands in Northern Minnesota, jeopardizing fresh water resources and wild rice beds that local Indigenous peoples consider their "primary economic, nutritional, and cultural resource."

Such impacts brought three pipeline foes to an active construction site for the proposed pipeline in Park Rapids, Minnesota, where they locked themselves to logging equipment.

According to the Minnesota-based and native-led organization Honor the Earth: "Great River Energy is bulldozing through the wetlands and forests to build powerlines for the Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Enbridge has no water crossing permits, but it works on."

"Great River Energy specifies in its Army Corps application that it is building the electric transmission line to power Enbridge's pipeline unbuilt pump station," organizers added in a press statement.

Organizers posted video of the action, which was supported by the Ginew Collective, Northfield Against Line 3, and others, on Facebook:

As of this writing, the three activists were still at the site and locked to the machinery, and work was still shut down.

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