Speed Reads

environmental battles

Dozens arrested after protesters move to block Minnesota pipeline

At least 30 protesters were arrested on Monday while trying to block Enbridge Energy from rebuilding an aging pipeline in northern Minnesota.

Hundreds of activists gathered at a pump station in Solway, with several chaining themselves to construction equipment and using boats to block the entrance to the worksite. The pipeline in question, Line 3, carries crude from Alberta, Canada, to Wisconsin. The pipeline has been in operation since 1968, and because it is older and corroded, carries about half of its original capacity. Enbridge says it plans to rebuild the pipeline so it can carry double the amount of crude, using stronger steel to better prevent leaks.

Indigenous communities and environmentalists are against Line 3, saying there is a risk of oil spills that could contaminate the local rivers and lakes and other areas where tribes hunt, fish, and harvest crops. Dawn Goodwin, co-founder of the RISE Coalition, told Reuters that "for years, we have tried to assert our sovereignty and speak out against Line 3. We still have time to save our sacred waters and land — our life sources." 

President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, and activists are calling on him to stop construction of Line 3. The Minnesota Court of Appeals is expected to rule by June 21 on whether to overturn state regulators' approval of the project. In a statement, Enbridge said it evacuated 44 workers from the pump station, adding that the company had "hoped all parties could come to accept the outcome of the thorough, science-based review and multiple approvals of the project."