Line 3 updates: Pressure on Biden, new frontline treaty camp, ELCA bishop releases statement, and more

In this blog:

  • Water protectors travel to Milwaukee today to tell President Biden to Stop Line 3
  • Invitation as the RISE Coalition opens new frontline treaty and prayer camp in Bagley Saturday-Sunday
  • Virtual tour of Camp Migizi Wednesday at 2 p.m.
  • Minneapolis ELCA Bishop says listen to Indigenous voices on Line 3
  • Gizmodo: Facebook favors Enbridge ads in Line 3 controversy
  • Freeborn County in far southern Minnesota ponders sending deputies north to respond to Line 3 resistance

Water protectors travel to Milwaukee today to tell President Biden to Stop Line 3

Water protectors traveled to Milwaukee today to send a message to President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden traveled to Milwaukee today and was greeted by water protectors with a clear message: No Line 3, No KXL, No DAPL. Biden was in Milwaukee to pitch his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. The rally was one of several efforts to get the new president to take a stand against Line 3, as he has for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Earlier this month, 38 member of the Minnesota State Legislature sent a letter to Biden with a similar message, urging him to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the Clean Water Act permit it issued for Line 3. They wrote:

The Corps failed to consider whether the project might violate or encroach on treaty rights and other important interests of indigenous nations including, but not limited to, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. The Corps failed to assess whether treaty rights, including off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, would be affected by Line 3, even though the pipeline runs directly through territories in which these Tribes hunt, fish, and gather and which contain resources that are central to the Tribes’ spiritual and cultural practices

RISE Coalition to open new frontline Line 3 treaty and prayer camp in Bagley

The RISE Coalition (Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging with our Allies) is inviting people to join in the ceremonial opening of its new camp. “We are building camp upon wellness, our culture and language, sustainability, and ZAAGI’IDIWIN,” the announcement said. (ZAAGI’IDIWIN means “mutual love,” according to the Ojibwe People’s Dictionary.)

The group will gather at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20 at 14506 Auginaush Rd. near Bagley for a ceremony, feast, and the naming of the camp. There will be an evening talking circle around the fire. On Sunday, Feb. 21, RISE will hold a treaty action and prayer.

Wear masks. Bundle up. Bring chairs. Facebook event here with details.

Virtual tour of Camp Migizi Wednesday

Camp Migizi, a Line 3 resistance camp on the Fond du Lac Reservation near Cloquet, is holding a virtual tour Wednesday Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.

Taysha Martineau, Shanai Matteson, and other frontline organizers will welcome water protectors and supporters to camp in a livestream visit followed by an online question and answer. Facebook event here.

This is one of a five-part series of virtual tours of frontline camps along the pipeline route. These tours are an important act of witness and solidarity and a way to orient yourself to where you might fit into the movement. This event will be videotaped and shared later for those who cannot attend.

Minneapolis ELCA Bishop says listen to Indigenous voices on Line 3

Ann Svennungsen, Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) issued a statement Feb. 8, saying faith leaders can’t stay on the sideline regarding Enbridge Line 3.

Bishop Ann Svennungsen

I know the debate around Line 3 construction is complicated. Indigenous peoples do not speak about it with one voice. But the vast majority of indigenous voices I hear are calling us to protect the waters from the possibility of tar sand leakage from pipelines that do not address the real environmental needs for our future. I believe this wisdom must lead us. …

I believe that we can find a better way forward than the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. We come humbly to this place both to be changed through relationship and to seek change and justice for all, so that all people, and perhaps even creation itself, might experience a just and healthy future.

Bishop Ann Svennungsen

Facebook seems to side with industry in Line 3 controversy

The website Gizmodo ran a story under the headline: Facebook Is Letting a Pipeline Company Run Ads While Muzzling Its Opponents.

Ashley Fairbanks of Minneapolis, who does social media for a number of grassroots climate nonprofits, criticizes the disparate treatment of Line 3 Facebook ads in the story.

Because of the election unrest, Facebook placed a temporary pause on social issue and political ads. As a result, Fairbanks said “nearly every post she attempts to promote on the platform—even those without any political messages—are removed by [Facebook].”

Meanwhile, Enbridge’s online ads don’t trigger a similar response. According to the story, one ad talks about Enbridge’s “‘ambitious sustainability goals,’ and its commitment ‘to reducing environmental impact & improving racial equity.’”

Her organizations “can’t say ‘kids deserve clean water,’” she said.

Freeborn County ponders mutual aid request to respond to Line 3 resistance

It should come as no surprise that the Freeborn County Board is hesitant to commit sheriff’s deputies to mutual aid calls to respond to a Line 3 protest.

Freeborn County is in the southernmost part of Minnesota. From the county seat of Albert Lea to the closest point to Line 3, just south of Cloquet, it would be just under 231 miles or about a 3.5 hour drive one way.

At left: Google map of drive time from Albert Lea to Cloquet. At right, map showing proximity of Line 3 route (orange line) to Cloquet.

If the Freeborn County Sheriff got a call to respond to something around the middle of the pipeline, say near Park Rapids, that’s a 280 mile drive, or about four-and-a-half hours one way. Sheriff’s deputies would put in a full day’s work just driving to an incident.

According to a story in today’s Albert Lea Tribune, the county board told Sheriff Kurt Freitag “they needed more time to decide on his request to join other law enforcement agencies in patrolling protests at a pipeline construction site in northern Minnesota.”

It seems ludicrous. Minnesota has 87 counties. Surely most of them are closer to Line 3 than Freeborn County. The sheriff asked the board “to trust his judgement and experience” in making the decision to respond, the story said.

Is it just me, or does the Sheriff seem a bit too eager to participate in the big law enforcement confab? Or maybe it’s just the prospect of getting reimbursed through the Enbridge-funded Public Safety Escrow Account.

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