Enbridge attempts to silence Line 3 protesters

After reports in mid-October that pipeline owners paid police to target Line 3 protesters, students are fighting back.


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PROTECT OUR EARTH. The line 3 pipeline runs across Indigenous land, crossing many bodies of water and critical wetland areas. Protesters are worried about oil spills and the threat it poses to keeping the environment and major bodies of water clean.

After reports in mid-October that pipeline owners paid police to target Line 3 protesters, students are fighting back.

Freshman Annie Zhang said, “Enbridge trying to silence protesters is an infraction of the first amendment that grants everyone freedom of speech which includes the right to protest.”
Enbridge is the company responsible for replacing the pipeline that runs 1,031 miles from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. According to their website, the initiative created 8,600 jobs over a two-year period.

Still, the construction of the pipeline has received civil backlash since the beginning of its reconstruction in 2016.

The reason for this is that the pipeline runs through Indigenous land, violating the rights of the people who occupy it. According to stopline3, an organization attempting to raise awareness and stop its construction:“The pipeline spans across the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac reservations and the l855, 1854, and l842 treaty areas.”

Not only does the pipeline cross Indigenous land, but also crosses a number of bodies of fresh water. According to MN350.org, “Line 3 will cross critical wetlands and 200+ additional bodies of water, including the Mississippi River, twice.”

The risk of oil spills and other contaminants is of concern to water protectors.
Enbridge has a history of oil spills. According to the Oil and Water Don’t Mix organization, On Jul. 25, 2010, one of Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline ruptured. It took 17 hours for Enbridge to detect the breach in the pipeline and start repairs.

Many people think the risk of an oil spill is not worth the jobs Enbridge creates. One of these is sophomore Declan Monahan. “I think that there is no reason for Line 3 to pass through indigenous land, and the environmental risk is not worth it for the marginal impact it is going to have on energy,” he said.

For these reasons, the reconstruction of Line 3 has sparked many protests. Some of these protests intensified, and in some cases, protesters broke equipment. In an attempt to stop these protests,
Enbridge paid $2.9 million to the police for them to regulate and arrest protesters. According to the Pipeline Legal Action Network, “Police have arrested more than 900 demonstrators opposing Line 3 and its impact on climate and Indigenous rights.”

Junior Yash Kshirsagar said, “[Silencing protesters] doesn’t create a good image for Enbridge. By silencing them, it seems to cause more of a stir than Enbridge anticipated. By doing this they devalue the basic rights that protesters have.”