County cops acting as Enbridge security

Reckless driver tries to intimidate water protectors

Enbridge Line 3 construction in Cass County, Saturday. Photo: Watch the Line

On Dec. 18, Lee Lewis was driving Cass County back roads monitoring construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. He was volunteering with Watch the Line and following the law. He would stop where the proposed pipeline route crosses roadways and take photos from the public right of way.

He recalled seeing Sheriff Department vehicles a couple of times, either driving or parked near pipeline crossing sites. After a while, he noticed two sheriffs vehicles following him. They turned on their flashing lights and pulled him over, he said. A deputy got out of the first car and asked Lewis what he was doing.

“I told him that I was scouting Line 3 and making observations,” Lewis said. “He asked if I was a Water Protector.  I said ‘yes’.”

The deputy told him he was within his rights to make such observations, but the department had received a call of suspicious activity. The deputy asked for Lewis’ driver’s license, calling it routine.

Lewis gave him his ID, but why should he have to? He had done nothing wrong. And why two squad cars?

This seems to be Enbridge’s standard operating procedure. If employees see anyone observing the pipeline, they call in “suspicious” activity. Sheriff’s deputies intervene on the company’s behalf.

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