Key political leaders have ducked the Line 3 controversy, pressure now on Biden to embrace the moment

Those of you, like me, who went to elementary school in Minnesota will recall playing the game “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck!”

We apparently are unique in using this name, as kids in every other state call it “Duck, Duck, Goose!”

Politicians have come up with their own version of the children’s game around the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. They call it “Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck.”

Duck, Duck, Duck! Photo: Manfred Richter

Gov. Tim Walz is the undisputed “Duck, Duck, Duck” champion. He’s told us that Line 3 needed a “social permit” but ducked defining what that actually meant. He pledged through executive order to engage Native Nations in meaningful consultation around issues of mutual concern, then ducked that obligation with Line 3. He’s the governor, yet has ducked any responsibility for the Line 3 decision.

That’s three ducks right there.

Minnesota’s two U.S. senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, have been ducking the question, too. A citizen activist recently stopped Klobuchar at an event to ask about her Line 3 stance. She didn’t answer. She walked away without quacking a smile. (Bring Me the News posted a brief video of the exchange.)

Klobuchar and Smith’s opinion matter. They could sway President Biden’s position on Line 3.

As things stand, Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki is ducking the question on his behalf. She was asked about Line 3 during a recent press conference.

An ABC reporter said climate scientists were questioning whether the President could meet his climate goals if new crude oil pipelines kept getting built. She asked: Do new pipelines such as Line 3 undermine the President’s message that the United States wants to be a climate leader?

Psaki gave a two-duck answer.

Duck 1: She said Line 3 was currently the subject of federal litigation so she couldn’t say much.

If the answer is: “No, the United States can’t meet its climate goals if it keeps approving projects like Line 3,” then the public has a right to know regardless of the litigation fallout. The stakes are too high.

Duck 2: Psaki recounted other Biden climate initiatives and said he “has taken every step he can take within his control to move the climate agenda forward,” implying Biden was powerless to stop Line 3.

Biden has the power. He’s the President of the United States, the POTUS with the mostest. If he wanted to stop Line 3, he could do it.

In a recently published MinnPost Op/Ed, four tribal leaders reminded Biden that it was the Trump administration that granted the federal permits for both Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline — an administration “that believed climate change was a hoax.”

The federal government hadn’t done its own Environmental Impact Statement, consulted tribes, or considered Line 3’s potential climate and environmental damage, the Op/Ed said. “President Trump’s Army Corps of Engineers chose to barrel ahead with these toxic permits.”

So, does Biden want to follow in Trump’s footsteps on Line 3 or take his own path?

The Op/Ed writers said the Biden administration needs “to follow through on commitments to respect science, Indigenous communities, property rights and the climate crisis, and follow standards to make sure that new fossil fuel infrastructure has to pass a climate test.”

It was signed by Samuel Strong, tribal councilman for the Red Lake Nation, Whitney Gravelle, tribal chairwoman of the Bay Mills Indian Community, Kevin Killer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and Robert Larsen, president of the Lower Sioux Indian Community.

Line 3 pipeline construction is almost complete, but it hasn’t started moving oil. There’s still time to act.

Not even a real duck would duck the Line 3 question. Ducks know water is life.

Here’s hoping our political leaders have that kind of common sense, the courage to follow it, and Stop Line 3.

3 thoughts on “Key political leaders have ducked the Line 3 controversy, pressure now on Biden to embrace the moment

  1. biden time said they didn’t need an environmental review, because they know a what a real review would conclude: the pipeline is an environmental disaster even before the sludge is forced through.


  2. As member of Twin Cities Nonviolent, , I appeal to Minnesota Governor, members of US Congress and state legislature to do anything necessary to stop Line 3 from further development and use. Continuation of this project is an affront to the Biden Administration’s commitment to clean energy and reducing global warming. Further, it would add insult to injury in Minnesota’s relations with American Indigenous communities. American history abounds in violation of treaties with American Indian tribes and disrespect towards them. All governments and humans make mistakes but, at critical junctures, we need to learn from them instead of repeating them.


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