Enbridge causes conflict, climate change

To the editor:

There is a large tar sands pipeline currently being constructed from Canada through the midwest, ending at Lake Superior in Superior, Wisconsin. It is called the Line 3 replacement project, but in reality it is a brand new pipeline that is larger and has the same diameter as the Keystone XL Pipeline. The company behind it is Enbridge, a Canadian Oil company that is responsible for a massive oil spill in Michigan, in which 1.2 million gallons of unrefined oil spilled on the Kalamazoo River in 2010. Enbridge is the same company responsible for Line 5 in Michigan, and is infamous for using dirty tactics to push their projects through.

Enbridge is paying local law enforcement to intimidate, surveil, and arrest protestors. Through Public Escrow trusts, Enbridge has paid local county Police Departments and Sheriff offices hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppress any groups protesting the pipeline. Regardless of what side you’re on, it should be a cause of concern that local law enforcement is being paid by a private foreign interest, especially since these are the same tactics they will use when Line 5 construction starts next year here in Michigan. These tactics cause major conflict and tension in every community that the pipelines pass through, causing particular harm to local indigenous communities.

The project is currently in the late stages of drilling beneath the headwaters of the Mississippi, which not only endangers the water but violates Ojibwe treaties and the 11th Amendment. If completed, Line 3 would release as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as fifty new coal-fired power plants. The tar sands running through the pipeline will be shipped out to international markets, not at all benefiting the people in the regions Enbridge claims its “for.” In its bid to lure supporters of the pipeline, Enbridge claimed that the pipeline would provide thousands of jobs for local Minnesotans, saying that 75% of the hires for the project would be in-state, but in fact less than 30% of the hires were in state while the rest were Enbridge employees from Canada.

Originally built in 1961, Line 3 has over 900 structural “anomalies” and is thus operating under reduced pressure. Instead of fixing the current pipeline, they are abandoning the current infrastructure to construct an entirely new project along a different stretch of land, clearing forests, damaging wetlands, and drilling under the headwaters of the Mississippi. Line 3 has already had at least 15 large spills (more than 50 barrels each), including a 1.7 million gallon spill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, which is the largest inland oil spill in US history.

There is a growing resistance against this pipeline due to its threats to water, treaties, and global climate change. Local folks from the Keweenaw have been traveling to the pipeline construction site to stand beside the indigenous-led resistance against the pipeline. There are many ways you can help fight the pipeline construction: Contribute legal funds to groups who have been arrested while blocking construction of this pipeline (Line 3 Legal Defense Fund), and follow groups who are keeping track of the pipeline activities (Giniw Collective). Citi Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase Bank are all financing Line 3 with billions of dollars. You can express your concerns by contacting your banks’ executives and encouraging them to stop funding this destructive project.


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