A "freshly vaccinated" Jane Fonda arrived in Minnesota on Sunday to join the ongoing protests against Canadian oil giant Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, a multibillion-dollar tar sands project that scientists and activists have called an "urgent threat" to local waters and the global climate.
"Line 3's most serious immediate impacts will be on Indigenous peoples and their lands and waters along the line. But the increasing climate threats to Minnesota—and the planet—will be exponentially exacerbated by this pipeline."
—Jane Fonda, activist and actress
In a Facebook post announcing her arrival in Northern Minnesota, the 83-year-old activist and Oscar-winning actress said the Ojibwe Water Protectors "have invited me to join them in the fight to stop Line 3."
"We were driving down the highway and pulled over to see the impacts of the nearly one million barrels of tar sands per day being brought from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin by Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the U.S.," she continued.
Fonda—an active participant in social justice causes for decades, which includes being arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building in October 2019 after launching the #FireDrillFriday campaign to pressure federal lawmakers to address the climate crisis—noted that "Enbridge seeks to build a new pipeline corridor through untouched wetlands and the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, through the Mississippi River headwaters to the shore of Lake Superior."
"We will be at the rivers that are being threatened by Line 3 over the next few days," she said, "gathering to pray and send a message to Enbridge that water is life."
In an accompanying video, Fonda added that "we're here to try to stop it."
From @Janefonda: “Freshly vaccinated, I have arrived in Northern Minnesota with friends the Ojibwe Water Protectors, who have invited me to join them in the fight to #StopLine3.” 1/4 pic.twitter.com/6hHeN8AyPE— Honor the Earth (@HonorTheEarth) March 15, 2021
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As Common Dreams has reported, climate justice and Indigenous rights advocates are opposed to the expansion of the Line 3 pipeline because it would send 760,000 barrels of crude oil every day from Alberta through North Dakota and Minnesota, to Wisconsin—traversing more than 800 wetland habitats, violating the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples, and putting current and future generations at risk of polluted water and a degraded environment.
Since Enbridge began working on the pipeline in late 2020 despite pending lawsuits, opponents have attempted to halt construction through civil disobedience—with more than 130 arrests being made "so far in just the last few months," according to Tara Houska of the Giniw Collective—as well as a divestment campaign, organized by Stop the Money Pipeline.
Emphasizing the high-stakes nature of this fight against fossil fuel infrastructure, journalist Emily Atkin reported Monday that "Minnesota state legislators recently proposed a new bill that would impose harsh criminal penalties on anyone who participates in direct actions against Line 3—10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines."
Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who said publicly in February of 2019 that projects like this one "don't just need a building permit to go forward, they also need a social permit," has been widely condemned for giving Enbridge the green light to continue working on Line 3 even though it has been described as "a tar sands climate bomb," and activists have pressured Walz to rescind the permit for the pipeline.
While the Minnesota Court of Appeals last month denied a request to halt construction as legal battles continue, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—who met with Enbridge opponents in late January—has urged President Joe Biden to exercise his authority to shut down Line 3 as he did the Keystone XL pipeline, given that both projects come with devastating ecological and social consequences.
Ahead of an early afternoon press conference on Monday with Houska and Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, Fonda said in a news release that "Line 3's most serious immediate impacts will be on Indigenous peoples and their lands and waters along the line. But the increasing climate threats to Minnesota—and the planet—will be exponentially exacerbated by this pipeline."
"In short," she added—repeating a common refrain of water protectors—"Line 3 is a climate time bomb."