Minnesota public safety official forwards names of water protectors to Enbridge security officer

Published by Brent Patterson on

Duane Johnson, St. Louis County Emergency Management Coordinator-Sheriff’s Office, forwarded to an Enbridge security officer a list of names of water protectors who had attended a Line 3 organizing meeting in January 2021.

It has been previously documented that Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. pays into an escrow account that then pays for Minnesota police actions against Indigenous water protectors and allies seeking to stop the construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Now, based on records The Intercept has obtained through public information requests, the relationship between the Canadian company and public safety officials and police in Minnesota appears closer than had been previously understood.

Their article notes: “Emails between Enbridge and members of the Northern Lights Task Force — a group consisting of sheriffs and public safety officials coordinating plans for expected protests against Line 3 — describe several joint training exercises and other coordination meetings set up by the energy firm.”

“In October 2020, according to emails, Enbridge organized an all-day training at the company’s Bemidji Emergency Operations Center. …The email sent out ahead of the training included a series of ‘Incident Briefing Maps’ laying out scenarios where Enbridge and law enforcement might need to coordinate a response. …The list of scenarios — which were drawn up by the Response Group, a controversial crisis management firm that works for the energy industry — laid out four possible events: demonstrators blocking traffic, the breach of a construction site, ‘swarming’ of a pipeline hub while streaming on social media, and project opponents locking themselves to the gate of an Enbridge office.”

The Intercept further notes: “By the time construction on Line 3 began [in December 2020], a comfortable working relationship appeared to have been established between Enbridge and some of the public safety agencies invited to the company’s meetings.”

“Public officials repeatedly expressed interest in exchanging information on pipeline opposition with Enbridge.”

“St. Louis County Emergency Management Coordinator Duane Johnson copied Enbridge’s security lead for the Line 3 project on an email inviting first responders to work out of the law enforcement emergency operations center as they monitored intelligence on a potential direct action the next day. ‘There is considerable intel on something brewing tomorrow. Let me know if you’d like to come over and work out of the EOC tomorrow just in case something pops,’ the official wrote, referring to the emergency operations center.”

The article then highlights: “In another email, Johnson requested that Enbridge’s Line 3 security lead attend regular intelligence meetings. …The Enbridge security officer was kept in the loop. [Then on January 7, 2021], Johnson copied him on another email, forwarding a list of names of water protectors who had attended a ‘Line 3 Organizing Meeting’ the night before.”

County Emergency Managers are part of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The Duluth News Tribune has reported: “Johnson has worked for the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office since 1995 and has served in his current capacity since 2015.”

The full article can be read at: Minnesota Law Enforced Shared Intelligence on Protest Organizers with Pipeline Company.

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