Above Photo: Demonstrators march in an Indigenous-led #TreatiesNotTarSands protest against Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion near the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul on August 25, 2021. (Red Lake Treaty Camp/Facebook)
‘We Are Not Deterred’
“Do not think we are going quietly into the night, we will continue to stand on the frontlines until every last tar sands pipeline is shut down and Indigenous communities are no longer targeted.”
Indigenous and environmental activists on Wednesday vowed to keep up the fight against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline expansion after the Canadian company announced the completion of the multi-billion-dollar tar sands project.
Calgary-based Enbridge on Wednesday announced the “substantial completion” of the 1,097-mile Line 3 expansion, which will enable the flow of up to 760,000 barrels of crude tar sands oil—the world’s dirtiest fuel—from Alberta to the port of Superior, Wisconsin.
Line 3 traverses Anishinaabe treaty land without the consent of the Indigenous peoples who live there. The pipeline’s route crosses 200 bodies of water and 800 wetlands, raising serious concerns about its climate impact, as well as accidents and leaks that are endemic to pipelines, and other issues including sex trafficking by Line 3 workers.
State and local law enforcement officers—some of their agencies paid by Enbridge under Minnesota state rules—have violently repressed anti-Line 3 demonstrations in northern Minnesota while arresting hundreds of water protectors in recent months.
Winona LaDuke, executive director of the Indigenous-led environmental justice group Honor the Earth, responded to Enbridge’s announcement by declaring that “the fight to #StopLine3 is not over.”
Earlier today, Enbridge announced that the Line 3 project will be complete on October 1st and operational by October 3rd.
— WinonaLaDuke (@WinonaLaduke) September 29, 2021
Other Indigenous and environmental leaders also vowed to keep fighting the project.
“The Line 3 fight is far from over, it has just shifted gears,” the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) said in a statement.
“Do not think we are going quietly into the night, we will continue to stand on the frontlines until every last tar sands pipeline is shut down and Indigenous communities are no longer targeted but our right to consent or denial is respected,” the group said.
“We promise to continue to show up each time even stronger with new voices and hearts ready to lead,” IEN continued.
Indigenous Environmental Network Statement on Enbridge’s Line 3 Completion of Work (September 29, 2021) pic.twitter.com/Dv8e8KgRBd
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) September 29, 2021
“From the belly of the beast north of the medicine line to rice beds that sustain the life-ways of the Anishinaabe all the way down to our relatives impacted in the bayous, we will continue to fight for the natural and spiritual knowledge of the Earth,” the group added. “We will continue to fight and take care of one another and our Mother because she has always taken care of us.”
The frontline Line 3 resistance group Camp Migizi said it “made a solemn promise to stop Line 3 and we intend to go down fighting. There is still work that needs to be done before the project is considered complete; we promise to disrupt and stop that work.”
The group continued:
We ask that you remember us, as we will still be here, fighting to protect all that is sacred, even if they build Line 3. Our community that we have built here will still remain. We ask that you remember that just like all of the Indigenous communities we come from, we are still here learning, fighting, and healing.We will remain an open camp, for queer BIPOC anarchists and water protectors alike to reconnect to the water, the land, and the world around us. We will still be here as you sit in your homes drinking Starbucks coffee, placing bets on which football team will win next Sunday.We will still be here in the cold, in the heat, through the mud and the barbed wire. We ask that you remember us, because the fight for clean water is never over. We will remain, with all of our lives, the frontline.
Giniw Collective founder Tara Houska said that “this shameful moment marks what the promises of the Democratic Party to listen to climate science look like in action, what it looks like when human beings refuse to open our eyes to the burning world around us and respond with equal urgency.”
“Over 800 people from all walks of life were arrested here for protecting our land, treaty obligations to tribal nations were once again violated, [and] statutory requirements were cast aside in favor of corporate greed,” Houska continued. “We were shot at with rubber bullets paid for by Enbridge, police officers in financial relationship with a foreign company used pain compliance on us, we face years in prison for defending the drinking water of tens of millions downstream from Alberta tar sands oil set to flow through the Mississippi River headwaters, 22 rivers, 800 wetlands.”
Houska defiantly added: “We are not deterred. We answer the failures of governmental leadership to abandon the status quo that’s killing all life with building the world we want to live in and standing up for what is right. Line 3 is one coffin nail of many, we cannot and will not stop fighting for a better tomorrow.”
Environmental groups also pledged to continue resisting Line 3.
“President [Joe] Biden and the other politicians who chose to do nothing as treaty rights were violated, waterways were polluted, and peaceful protesters were brutalized have placed themselves on the wrong side of history,” said Sierra Club North Star chapter director Margaret Levin. “We will continue to seek to hold them accountable for failing to prioritize the best interests of our communities over the desires of a foreign oil company.”
Today, Canadian oil company Enbridge announced that tar sands is set to start running through the Line 3 pipeline this Friday. Line 3 has faced fierce opposition because of the threat to clean water, Indigenous rights, & the climate. #StopLine3 https://t.co/jrDGR0qyGk
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) September 29, 2021
“This is not the outcome we hoped for, but the fight to stop Line 3 has always been a fight for climate justice and a future free from fossil fuels, and that fight will not stop just because Enbridge has succeeded in building this pipeline,” Levin added. “Our movement is powerful, and we are not going anywhere. We will keep pushing forward—demanding that our elected leaders live up to their promises and lifting our voices for healthy and safe communities and climate justice.”
Line 3 opponents continue to implore the Biden administration to shut down the project. Three months ago, the president was accused of a “horrible and unconscionable betrayal” of his promises to combat the climate emergency and respect Indigenous rights after his administration filed a legal brief backing the federal government’s 2020 approval of Line 3 under former President Donald Trump.