Line 3 Updates: Rep. Ilhan Omar Opposes Pipeline; Facebook Shuts Down Direct Action Group’s Page

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has taken a strong stand against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oi pipeline, writing Gov. Tim Walz a letter asking him to continue the Dayton Administration’s lawsuit to stop this dangerous and unnecessary project that violates treaty rights. In a second letter, Omar wrote the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing her opposition to the project. The Corps needs to grant water-related permits for Line 3 to move ahead.

In related news, the four people involved in a direct action against Enbridge Lines 3 and 4 earlier this week have been released from the Itasca County jail. They face both felony and misdemeanor charges. Facebook has shut down a Catholic Worker Facebook Page that included video of the action.

U,.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Omar wrote Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan:

The Line 3 Replacement Pipeline Project is inconsistent with the state’s overall energy needs and the social cost of carbon resulting from the project is too high to justify it. Expanding this tar sands pipeline will bring a host of unacceptable risks to Minnesota at a time when we should be investing in the technology and infrastructure that will carry us away from fossil fuels. …

Additionally, the proposed project would cross treaty territories of the Ojibwe, where they maintain land use-rights guaranteed by treaties between Ojibwe bands and the US government, protected by the US Constitution and affirmed by the US Supreme Court. … I ask that you consider the impact this project could have on the tribes’ [wild rice] harvesting rights. …

When weighing projects that promise of short-term economic development opportunities for our state, it is our duty as public officials to give equal consideration to the impact on our environment, our communities and the long-term direction of our economy.

In her letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omar wrote:

[T]he estimated impact at the beginning of a project like this is often far below the real damage that’s doe by the completion date, as evidenced by Enbridge’s safety record. Between 1999 and 2010, the company was found to have amassed over 800 spills and the [company] was sued by multiple states for failing to adequately inspect and operate their pipelines. ….

Additionally, the [Army Corps of Engineers] should consider the impact this project would have on the climate crisis. Minnesota is one of the fastest-warming states, and our ecosystems are already facing extreme pressure from warmer winters, hotter summers, irregular precipitation, and more severe weather.

Click on the links above to read the full letters.

Facebook Deletes Catholic Worker Facebook Page with Direct Action Video

We blogged yesterday on a direction action by four Catholic Workers who temporarily shut off Enbridge  Line 3 and Line 4 and were subsequently arrested. Here is an update from a Facebook Post by Joe Kruse:

The valve turners were released this morning on their own recognizance. They have been charged with aiding and abetting damage to pipeline property (a felony) and 4th degree property damage (misdemeanor). Their next court date is Feb. 19th, 9:30 am.

Kruse also notes that “in a startling act of censorship Facebook deleted the group’s page soon after a live video of their action was posted.” This raises questions about how Facebook decides what to leave up and what to delete, and whether either Enbridge or law enforcement influenced that decision.

Unicorn Riot has posted the video.

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