MINNESOTA- Despite sustained backlash from demonstrators and indigenous rights groups, Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline has resumed construction in the final stretch of its pathway from Alberta, through Indigenous lands and state parks, to the North-west shores of Lake Superior.
Image: Alex Kormann/Star Tribune, via Associated Press [https://static01.nyt.com/images/2020/12/28/opinion/28erdrich-01/merlin_181038384_364bb75f-98f1-45d8-a149-a12e5114596a-superJumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp]
Environmental Activists, who deem themselves ‘water protectors’ ̶ of which more than 900 have been arrested ̶ have been pushing back on the pipeline’s construction for several months. The company’s main defense against the demonstrators’ halting construction has been working hand in hand with various law enforcement agencies.
Journalist Hilary Beaumont reported for the guardian on October 5th just how closely Enbridge has been working with the agencies. Beaumont’s piece revealed that not only do LEOs share intelligence with Enbridge, but Enbridge reimbursed these agencies for officer training, meals and housing, equipment, and overtime wages, among other expenses.
This pipeline not only poses devastating environmental impacts and stifles the rights of several indigenous groups, but concurrently shows the value these federal officials hold for the profits and private property rights of multinational corporations over the first amendment and land rights of individual activists and indigenous peoples and the current climate crisis.
This pipeline, which will create as much atmospheric pollution as approximately 50 coal power plants, runs through the Fond Du Lac tribal reservation, Fond Du Lac Minnesota state forest, and Jay Cooke state park to the Lake Superior watershed. Enbridge is simultaneously disrupting wildlife, emitting greenhouse gases, and using their right of way privileges to go back on land tenure agreements between tribal nations and the U.S federal government.
This agreement between Enbridge and the local, state, and federal governments removes and denies the Indigenous groups’ sovereignty and adds yet another drop in the bucket of atrocities committed against these subalterns.
On the other hand, Line 3 will no longer run through areas in the Leech Lake reservation, a much larger mass of land than the Fond Du Lac reservation.
Regardless of the diversionary plans of the pipeline, the private funding of public servants to combat activists at construction sites is deplorable and unprecedented.