Indigenous land defenders call for stop to Line 3 as Biden and Trudeau prepare to meet again

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by MN350 of rally against the Line 3 pipeline on January 9, 2021.

On January 20, US President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the construction of the 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada.

Welcoming that decision, the Indigenous Environmental Network highlighted: “We must not forget about our relatives fighting Line 3, the Dakota Access Pipeline and other fossil fuel projects poisoning our communities and fueling the climate emergency.”

The Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. 760,000 barrel per day Line 3 tar sands pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. It would be 1,659 kilometres in length, of which about 585 kilometres would be in the United States.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Canada in November 2016 on the same day he approved the construction of the now Canadian government owned 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline.

About half of the 1,150 kilometre-long Trans Mountain pipeline is set to cross unceded Secwepemc territory without their free, prior and informed consent.

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) runs from North Dakota to Illinois where it connects with the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline that continues through several states including Louisiana to Texas. Thousands of land defenders and allies gathered at Standing Rock in 2016-17 to oppose this pipeline.

While DAPL is entirely within the United States, many in Canada have called on the Toronto-based TD Bank, a key investor in the pipeline, to divest from it.

Indigenous land defenders have repeatedly highlighted that none of these pipelines have the free, prior and informed consent of those whose territories they cross.

That may be why Faith Spotted Eagle, a member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota nation, described the cancellation of the KXL pipeline as “an act of courage and restorative justice by the Biden administration.”

On the January 22 call between Biden and Trudeau, they pledged to work “in partnership with Indigenous peoples” and to meet again in February.

In the meantime, Indigenous land defenders continue to be criminalized and arrested for upholding their rights in opposition to these megaprojects.

That includes the 8 land defenders arrested on January 9 in northern Minnesota, seven of whom were charged for trespassing on critical infrastructure as they peacefully attempted to stop construction on the Line 3 pipeline.

We call on President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau to respect the right to free, prior and informed consent, to stop the criminalization of land defenders, and to listen to the demands coming from the Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth and many others to stop these megaprojects on Indigenous territories.

Line 3 pipeline route.

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