Two women were arrested for protesting the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline yesterday by climbing into a section of the pipeline in Aitkin County, Minnesota.
Temperatures reached 130 degrees inside the pipe, which was capped at one end. The women, ages 20 and 21, entered with respirators due to low oxygen levels. An officer forcefully removed the protesters from the pipe and subsequently arrested them.
Last week, police arrested seven women, including Indigenous leader Winona LaDuke, at a protest of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Hubbard County, Minnesota.
Police have arrested over 500 people over the course of the ongoing Line 3 protests. Indigenous and Environmental activists have protested the pipeline’s construction for many years now, but the movement has gained more traction and awareness within recent months.
Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an Indigenous climate justice organization, spoke of her arrest in an interview with Slate Magazine. LaDuke said she was “ashamed that the state of Minnesota would put a group of women elders in jail.”
Enbridge, a Canadian multinational oil company, is building the new Line 3 to replace the current Line 3 pipeline, which was built in the 1960s and is too corroded to continue using. The pipeline extends from Alberta, Canada to the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The current Line 3 has leaked numerous times, including the 1991 oil spill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, which to this day is the county’s largest inland oil spill.
Construction of the Line 3 pipeline is complete in Canada, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, while it is two-thirds of the way finished in Minnesota.
Climate activists and Indigenous Water Protectors oppose the construction of the new Line 3, arguing that it will likely lead to another oil spill and pollute Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
“They’re basically putting and entire ecosystem at risk so that they can make a quick buck,” LaDuke added.
According to Slate Magazine, Line 3 would pass through three Indigenous reservations in Minnesota. The pipeline would also violate treaties between the U.S. government and Indigenous tribes, including the Treaty of 1855 which grants the Ojibwe people rights to hunt, gather wild rice, and fish on land and rivers Line 3 would cross.
“We’re the people here, and they’re running over us [and] a fifth of the world’s [fresh] water,” LaDuke said. “And we’re saying, ‘it’s time to quit.’ [It’s] basically selling our human rights, our water, our political right, everything, our land to a Canadian multinational.”
Sources: Stop Line 3 7/19/21; KSTP 7/29/21; Slate Magazine 7/28/2; Minnesota Public Radio 7/16/21