Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke arrested trying to stop Canadian pipeline at the Shell River in Minnesota

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Honor the Earth.

On July 22, Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke was released from jail in Minnesota after three days in custody.

LaDuke was arrested along with six other women on July 19 during ceremony at a drilling site near the Shell River for the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.

When she was released, LaDuke commented:

“I’ve been released from jail after spending three nights for being a water protector. This is what is called the Enbridge Way – make sure hundreds of Minnesota citizens are put in jail so they can steal 5 billion gallons of water and put the last tar sands pipeline in.”

“We’re going to keep fighting Enbridge, because it’s wrong.”

She added: “It’s not patriotic Governor Walz to give the water, the land and our civil rights to a Canadian multinational.”

Honor the Earth has noted: “For $150 dollars, the Department of Natural Resources has allowed Enbridge to extract 5 billion gallons of water, during a severe drought throughout Minnesota.”

The Line 3 pipeline financed by Canadian banks

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.

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 (RAN) 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.

Enbridge funds police, enables purchase of assault weapons

This past March, Emily Atkin reported in Heated: “Enbridge established a financial relationship with Minnesota law enforcement in May 2020, when the state Public Utilities Commission approved Line 3’s route permit. That permit required the oil giant to set up a special fund that would reimburse police responding to anything pipeline-related.”

The Intercept has now reported that in November 2020, Aitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Cook emailed a gun seller: “I’m hoping the pipeline will give us an extra boost to next year’s budget, which should make it easy for me to propose an upgrade/trade to your rifles rather than a rebuild of our 8 Bushmasters [assault rifles].”

Current status of pipeline

MPR News has reported that as of mid-June the pipeline is 60 per cent complete with work continuing in Minnesota.

To date, 600 people have been arrested expressing opposition to Line 3.

For more, please see this Democracy Now! interview with LaDuke on July 23 following her release from jail.

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