Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Enbridge Line 3 as Vote Looms this Month

Religious leaders gathered at Leif Erickson Park before crossing to the state Capitol to deliver their letter to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches

Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, stood before a crowd of hundreds of people Monday afternoon at Leif Erickson Park to state the shared belief of many religious leaders that the state should reject the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline on moral grounds.

“Oftentimes the faith community historically has been on the wrong side, particularly as it relates to indigenous communities and sovereign nations who we are in relationship with.” DeYoung said. “Today we decided to be on the right side.”

The event was organized by the Minnesota Poor People’s Campaign, and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MN IPL), and had the support of the Minnesota Council of Churches. (Star Tribune article here.)

The event, held just west of the state Capitol, included civil rights songs, a Jewish cantor, a brass band, chants, and a Buddhist moment of silence. It included indigenous prayer and truth-telling. It included a number of brief speeches from religious leaders from different traditions. But the event’s main goal was to Stop Line 3. To that end, the group delivered an interfaith letter opposing Line 3 to both Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Some 540 faith leaders signed.

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Events: Dialogue on Crude Oil Pipeline Impacts on Treaty Rights; Dakhota Language and Scavenger Hunt at Mia

Line 3 marker near Bemidji

Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light is hosting an interactive discussion on treaty rights and crude oil pipelines, Sunday, Feb. 25th, 1-3 p.m., at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel Ave., Saint Paul. Here is the Facebook post.

The discussion will include the history and continued significance of treaties in Minnesota, and the impact of the proposed Line 3 pipeline on treaty rights today.

Quick background: Canadian pipeline company Enbridge has several tar sands crude oil pipelines running through northern Minnesota. (They enter the state’s northwest corner and run southeasterly to connect with other pipelines in Superior, Wisc.)
Enbridge Line 3 is old and failing. Enbridge’s plan is to abandon Line 3 in the ground and build a new and larger pipeline along a new route. The new route avoids crossing reservation lands, but it does cross large areas of what is known ans 1855 treaty territory. These are lands where the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) have protected rights to hunt, fish and gather. The Line 3 review process has done little to nothing to recognize those treaty rights.
Line 3’s new route also crosses the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Rev. Robert Two Bulls will lead the Sunday discussion. He is a Missioner for the Department of Indian Work and Multicultural Ministries of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota.

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