Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Brett Benson
651-368-1226
brett@mn350.org

Press Release

Minnesota Health Professionals Implore Gov. Walz to Delay Pending Line 3 Construction in the Face of COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON -

Health professionals gathered outside the Minnesota governor’s mansion to urge the Walz administration to stop the pending construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota. 

"As frontline healthcare providers my colleagues and I are already struggling under the weight of current cases. We can not endorse any activities that will potentially increase the numbers of people traveling, sharing work spaces or living spaces that exponentially increase the number of COVID cases. Please issue a stay on construction of Line 3," Dr. Nyasha Spears, a family physician from Duluth, said at the news conference.

Nearly 200 health professionals, along with the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, have signed a petition calling on the governor and the Department of Health to issue an emergency stay to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The health professionals called on the state to prevent the risk of an explosion of COVID cases in Northern Minnesota as infection and mortality rates are reaching unprecedented levels statewide and hospital capacity is exceeded.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Line 3 project says half of the 4,200 workers employed during the construction of the proposed Line 3 pipeline are expected to come from outside the 15-county area of the route (Chapter 11, p20).

"I really do thank the governor and MDH for following public health guidance and helping me and my colleagues care for Minnesotans throughout this pandemic. As a frontline physician, I’m begging you, Gov. Walz, to issue a stay on construction as a COVID-19 mitigation measure," said Dr. Laalitha Surapaneni of the Twin Cities, a frontline hospitalist.

The Walz administration on Monday approved the last permits necessary for Enbridge Energy to begin construction of Line 3. Last week, the Red Lake and White Earth nations filed a motion seeking a stay on construction, citing pending lawsuits and COVID-19 risks. The motion will be heard at a PUC meeting Friday before moving to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. 

“We need to be consistent in our COVID-19 messaging and follow our own guidance of avoiding close social contact and large gatherings. We also need to demonstrate that our voiced concern about addressing Minnesota’s health disparities translates into responsible action by protecting our most marginalized communities” said Dr. Kristi White, of the Twin Cities, a clinical health psychologist.

Tribal nations, climate groups, local landowners and the MN Department of Commerce have filed suit to overturn the Certificate of Need issued for the pipeline, arguing the pipeline would violate treaty rights, threaten clean water, and provide an economic that would slow the transition away from the highly polluting Canadian tar sands oil industry. The Department of Commerce estimated the social costs of the climate damage from the pipeline at $287 billion. 

###

350 is building a future that's just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis. We're an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.

Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo