130+ water protectors facing charges for opposing Canadian tar sands pipeline being built on Indigenous territories in Minnesota
Photo by Giniw Collective.
On February 26, Ojibwe land defender Tara Houska tweeted: “There are 130+ Water Protectors facing charges for protecting the land from Line 3 tar sands…”
Commenting on the arrest of land defenders earlier this year, Houska noted: “We saw Minnesota’s police officers protecting a Canadian tar sands pipeline.”
If completed, the Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. owned Line 3 pipeline would move 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta to Wisconsin.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Canada in November 2016. Enbridge has reported that the Canadian portion of the pipeline is complete and began commercial service in December 2019.
The Rainforest Action Network has documented that the top five financiers of Enbridge are Canadian banks: TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, RBC and CIBC. Collectively they have provided billions of dollars in financing to Enbridge.
RAN has further noted: “The [542 kilometre] Minnesota stretch of the pipeline is all that remains to be built. In November 2020, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved the final permits for the pipeline.”
Work on the pipeline began in Minnesota on December 1 and is expected to take 6 to 9 months to complete. It was recently reported that Enbridge anticipates it will finish the construction of the pipeline by the end of September.
Truthout has explained: “Most of the Minnesota segment of the pipeline is routed through 1855 and 1863 treaty lands. The city of Palisade and Aitkin County are located within Ojibwe treaty territories belonging to the Leech Lake, Fond du Lac, White Earth and Red Lake bands. According to the 1855 and 1863 treaties, Ojibwe have hunting, gathering and fishing rights on the lands.”
The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, which represents the 11 Native nations within Minnesota, has asked Governor Tim Walz to issue an executive order putting a stay on the construction of the pipeline as lawsuits are heard in court.