Once we defeat the Dakota Access pipeline, it is essential that we carry the energy from this fight forward, to the many other places where Indigenous people are resisting fossil fuel infrastructure projects that threaten our lands and water. We are not fighting a pipeline, we are building a movement. The black snake has many heads. We ask you to continue standing with us.
On November 29, Canada's federal government officially approved two major pipeline projects - Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. They also rejected Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, after years of opposition from west coast First Nations and their allies.
Once the last piece of Dakota Access pipe is removed from the ground, we at Honor the Earth will turn our focus back to Line 3. Similar in size and purpose to the recently defeated Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3 is proposed to transport tar sands oil over 1000 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, right through the heart of Anishinaabe territory and some of the best lakes and wild rice beds in the world. The proposed route endangers three of the continent’s major watersheds including the Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world’s fresh water. It would also pierce the heart of Ojibwe treaty lands, where members of signatory bands retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony, and travel. It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this. We will not allow Line 3 to desecrate our lands, violate our treaty rights, or poison our water.
With a cost of $7.5 billion, Line 3 is the largest project in Enbridge’s history, and would be one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the continent, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day. Enbridge calls this project a “replacement” because they already have a Line 3 pipeline in their mainline corridor, which transects Northern Minnesota with 6 pipelines in it. But don’t be fooled – this is a new pipeline. The new pipe would be larger (36” instead of 34”), carry nearly twice the volume of oil, and establish an entirely new corridor through Northern Minnesota. That is not a replacement. And to top it all off, Enbridge simply wants to walk away from the old, crumbling Line 3 pipeline and abandon it in the ground. Unfortunately, there is no federal or state regulation to speak of that would prevent tribes and landowners from the extreme financial and ecological liability this poses. But tribes are standing up, and landowners are coming together to take action.
Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline has already faced 2 years of fierce resistance in the Great Lakes, led by Ojibwe tribes and grassroots groups like Honor the Earth, MN350, and Friends of the Headwaters. For 4 years, we fought the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would have established the new corridor in which Enbridge also wants to put the new Line 3. Eventually, we succeeded in our efforts to combine the Sandpiper and Line 3 applications into one regulatory process in Minnesota, and a successful Friends of the Headwaters lawsuit forced the State of Minnesota to conduct a full, cumulative Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on both lines.
In August, 2016, we defeated the Sandpiper and Enbridge canceled their plans for that project. But the battle against Line 3 remains. The State of Minnesota is currently writing the EIS for Line 3, after many months of battle over what the study would include, who would perform the analyses, and which alternatives would be considered. The draft EIS is scheduled to be released in April 2017 and the public will have a chance to comment at a series of public hearings.
As the fight against Dakota Access intensifies, and this movement continues to blossom, we ask you to keep an eye on the future, and to begin preparing for yet another battle. We are extremely grateful for all your support as we stand up for water, Mother Earth, our voiceless relatives, and future generations. We are in this for the long haul and we cannot do it without you.