Line 3 Construction Halted As Activists Lock Down, Charged with Felonies; National Support of Indigenous Fight Against Enbridge Pipeline Grows

(Park Rapids, MN) — As a sign of the growing national movement to stop the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline being built on the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, activists from across the country are risking arrest to stop construction of this disastrous fossil fuel project. On Thursday, July 1, 2021, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Ginger Cassady and others engaged in a peaceful civil disobedience to protest construction and are now facing felony charges.

“This pipeline is a violent assault on Indigenous People and their rights,” said Cassady, in a statement prior to her detainment. “Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and other nations. This reckless pipeline also flies in the face of logic and science. It will carry nearly a million barrels a day of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet, heavy tar-sands oil, across the untouched wetlands, through the Mississippi River headwaters.”

In a further example of the strong arm tactics at play in this dispute, Hubbard County is refusing to honor the traditional 10% cash bail option, instead demanding $5,000 conditional and $10,000 unconditional bail payments for release.

“Over 13 people died recently from extreme heat in Seattle, while another 60 walked on in Oregon,” said Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective and one of the leaders of the Indigenous movement against the Line 3 pipeline. “The coast is burning. Here in Minnesota the rivers and lakes are drought-stricken as Enbridge sucks water for Line 3 drilling mud from exposed river banks. It’s total insanity. Meanwhile the word in D.C. is ‘sound climate policy,’ yet Line 3 is being built without a federal Environmental Impact Statement. Line 3 is criminal. Land defenders are risking everything, chaining our bodies to the machines that seem to have no end in sight. We need leadership that doesn’t compromise what water we have left. We need the environmental movement to step up and stand with the sacred in more than words. Stop Line 3.”

The Line 3 pipeline project runs in direct opposition to the 2021 report released by the International Energy Agency that states in the clearest of terms that we need to stop all new and expanded fossil fuel projects to prevent even more catastrophic impacts of climate change. Projects like Line 3 will only lock in future fossil fuel production for decades to come. And in the short term, inevitable pipeline leaks and spills will needlessly devastate lands such as the Ojibwe reservation and other ancestral lands over which local communities have treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather wild rice.

“The world needs to pay attention to what’s happening here in Minnesota right now,” said RAN staffer Laurel Sutherlin who is also facing charges for peacefully protesting. “This is urgent. That’s why we are putting our bodies on the line in support of local leaders to interrupt construction. The big banks backing this pipeline are the same ones that financed the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock. Their support of this project means supporting the strong-arm, violent tactics by law enforcement. They are directly complicit in the physical abuse, the violation of rights, and the climate disaster that will last generations. Banks and insurers need to walk away from this project immediately.”