Water Protectors Hold Press Conference to Address Line 3 Construction
Tribal members, state and local officials, and those opposed to construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline held a press conference today to address and call attention to current drought conditions and pipeline construction.
With over 50 people gathering at the Mississippi River Headwaters at Itasca State Park, Minnesota state leaders, tribal members, and city and county officials discussed ongoing issues they believe are a threat to water, treaty rights, and the rights of Anishinaabe in northern Minnesota due to the pipeline’s construction. Speakers stated that pipeline spills contaminate waters and that construction interferes within the rights of tribal nations.
“So we’re here because this more than a pipeline,” said Nancy Beaulieu, co-founder of RISE Coalition and an organizer with MN350. “This is about treaty [rights], and those treaties are very much alive today as the day they were signed, and just because past administrations … have ignored our treaties, it’s not okay to continue to ignore our treaties. When they take our water without our permission, that’s an assault on our culture, on our people. Our food grows on our water. We are of the water.”
Enbridge says that construction permits include conditions that specifically protect wild rice waters, claiming that Enbridge pipelines have coexisted with Minnesota’s most sacred and productive wild rice waters for over seven decades and that the company has demonstrated ongoing respect for tribal sovereignty.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that the state’s Public Utilities Commission reasonably selected a route for the replacement pipeline based upon respect for tribal sovereignty, while minimizing environmental impacts.