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Demonstrators march through downtown St. Paul, Minnesota with a Stop Line 3 banner on January 29, 2021. (Photo: Tim Evans/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Demonstrators march through downtown St. Paul, Minnesota with a Stop Line 3 banner on January 29, 2021. (Photo: Tim Evans/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As Gov. Tim Walz Proclaims 'Minnesota Climate Week,' Ilhan Omar Says 'Stop Line 3'

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," said the Democratic congresswoman. "Our future is on the line."

Kenny Stancil

After Gov. Tim Walz took to Twitter on Monday morning to inform his constituents that "Minnesota Climate Week" had begun, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar urged the governor of her state to immediately block further construction of Line 3, Enbridge's multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline that endangers local ecosystems and the global climate.

"This Climate Week, we are reminded that the cost of climate change is clearer than ever," said Walz, marking the start of a themed week he recently established by proclamation. "Together, let's recommit to combating climate change to protect the health and beauty of our state for generations to come," the Democrat added.

To protect the state's long-term environmental health, "Let's #StopLine3," Omar, a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th congressional district, said in response.

Omar noted that if completed, "the Line 3 pipeline would nearly double the volume of tar sands crude oil" moving through Minnesota, with 760,000 barrels of "the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet" transported daily from Alberta to Wisconsin—putting hundreds of waterways at risk and violating the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people whose tribal lands are supposed to be protected.

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," the progressive lawmaker continued. "Our future is on the line," she added, echoing the warnings of scientists and environmental justice activists who have described Line 3 as a "climate time bomb" due to its projected impact on annual carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to 50 new coal-fired power plants.

Walz's Climate Week proclamation acknowledges that unmitigated greenhouse gas pollution threatens to negatively affect Minnesota's environment and worsen its residents' lives—with the poor being hit the hardest—and asserts that the state should "be at the forefront of... moving to a clean energy economy" through a "just and equitable transition that addresses the needs of impacted workers and families and is inclusive of historically marginalized communities."

Walz's deeds, however, tell a different story. In February of 2019, he said publicly that projects like Line 3 "don't just need a building permit to go forward, they also need a social permit." At the time, the governor was praised for "working for the people first not a foreign pipeline company" by deciding to renew a challenge launched by his predecessor against the project.

And yet, despite having the regulatory authority to bring construction to a halt, Walz has refused to rescind permits for Line 3, allowing Enbridge to proceed without obstruction from his administration.

"If we're gonna transport oil, we need to do it as safely as we possibly can with the most modern equipment," Walz said late last month as thousands of demonstrators camped out on the grounds of the state Capitol. The next day, nearly 70 people were arrested at a rally outside Walz's mansion, as Common Dreams reported.

Honor the Earth, an Indigenous-led organization that has been at the forefront of the fight against Line 3—during which hundreds of activists have been harassed, violently repressed, and arrested—also slammed Walz for what they framed as empty posturing Monday and told the governor to "take real action."

While Indigenous leaders, environmental groups, healthcare professionals, and dozens of Democratic lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to exercise the same authority to revoke federal permits for the Dakota Access and Line 3 pipelines as he did with the Keystone XL pipeline, Biden has so far refused to do so. In June, the Biden administration filed a legal brief in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of the Line 3 expansion under former President Donald Trump.

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