MN350, Indigenous Environmental Network call on Aitkin County sheriff to release 22 arrested at Line 3 pipeline construction site

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Twenty-two water protectors arrested Monday

News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

The climate justice group MN350 and the Indigenous Environmental Network yesterday urged Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida to release 22 water protectors arrested Monday voicing opposition to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline near the Mississippi River north of Palisade, Minnesota.

“When people practice their free speech rights within the law, it’s important that their rights be respected,” Executive Director Sam Grant said. “We’re deeply disturbed that the Aiken County sheriff determined that our rights were an inconvenience. We ask the sheriff to release all of those arrested immediately.”

Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth and other water protectors recently built a traditional prayer lodge on a bank of the river near construction. “We are sad that Minnesotans must face arrest to protect our water while Enbridge moves ahead,” LaDuke said. “We will expect more resistance.”

Eight Minnesota legislators who oppose Line 3 visited the construction site and lodge on Sunday, and another delegation is expected this weekend. “If we want to have a livable planet for our future and the generations to come, we simply cannot build new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Sen.-elect Jen McEwen of Duluth.

Among those arrested Monday was Simone Senogles of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Since Governor Waltz refuses to secure free, informed and prior consent for Line 3 from the Anishinaabe people before ruining our life sources, we are left with no choice but to put our bodies on the line to stop Line 3 and protect the water for our future generations,” said Dawn Goodwin, an Indigenous Environmental Network  organizer and RISE Coalition Co-Founder. “We are the women calling upon you to protect all that is sacred."

MN350, Honor the Earth and other pipeline opponents have fought for six years to stop Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy from building the massive Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota, from Canada’s tar sands region to Superior, Wis. The pipeline violates several treaties with the Ojibwe people that establish their right to hunt, fish, and gather along the proposed route. 

Honor the Earth, Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce and other pipeline opponents have asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn the Public Utilities Commission’s approval of the pipeline as illegal. They’ve also filed a request for a stay of construction while the appeal is heard.

“That Minnesotans are willing to risk arrest shows they’re fighting to protect what they love,” said MN350 Communications Director Brett Benson. “They’re standing up to say it’s time the state actually listen to Indigenous voices and start protecting our climate instead of caving to the interests of a Canadian oil giant.”

The pipeline would cross 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River twice. If built, Line 3 would carry some of the dirtiest oil in the world and would contribute the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. Its carbon footprint would exceed the entire state of Minnesota’s.

About MN350

MN350 is a statewide group with 20,000 supporters working to make Minnesota a national leader in a just transition to a clean energy economy. MN350 Action is its political and advocacy arm.

About Indigenous Environmental Network 

Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

Learn more here: ienearth.org

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