MN 350 speakers talk about Line 3 Pipeline and racial disparities


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Climate activists in front of Chase Bank protesting against black their financing of the Enbridge company.

The Line 3 Pipeline caused outrage in Minnesota, as it is believed that it will spill thousands of gallons of oil into the boundary waters, Mississippi River and Lake Superior, causing devastating environmental impacts for generations to come. On the 3rd of March, PEP, IC and SSJ club organizations collaborated and hosted 3 speakers from activist organization MN 350. These speakers talked about the building of the Line 3 pipeline and how governor Tim Walz’s words have not aligned with his actions in regard to the protests of the pipeline.

Line 3 was originally proposed by Enbridge (a Canadian Pipeline company responsible for the biggest inland oil spill in the US) in 2014 under the Obama administration who approved it. The pipeline would run from Alberta Canada to Superior Wisconsin carrying millions of barrels of tar sand every day. The speakers talked about how the Line 3 pipeline will affect the water systems across the country, disproportionately affecting communities of color and Indigenous people.

SSJ Co-president Nan Besse said, “I definitely think that their presentation informed me about climate activism and how that intersects specifically with the Indigenous water treaties and water justice.”

This presentation sought to inform the SPA community about the climate issues and how students can stay informed about what is happening. They talked about staying informed by watching the news, signing petitions and attending similar presentations, while filtering the fake news to stay fully informed.

I definitely think that their presentation informed me about climate activism and how that intersects specifically with the Indigenous water treaties and water justice.”

— junior Nan Besse

Although Governor Tim Walz is talking about environmental protection, his actions speak otherwise as he has not hindered or stopped the building.

“It is important to note that Governor Walz has the ability to issue an executive order on stopping the construction of the pipeline while the lawsuits are heard in court. People have been protesting the pipeline for years and various local governments, including our state government, have failed to act on the voices of the people that elected them to that position. I definitely believe that protesters are aware of Governor Walz’s stance on the pipeline. I also believe they are aware that his opinions on the pipeline have continued to change, despite his platform standing on the importance of climate action and protecting Minnesota’s natural environment.” said SSJ Co-president Kishori Patel.

Although the presentation was meant to be informative, they still had a real call to action in terms of their main message. Besse went on to say, “The main message was what we can do right now, how people are becoming engaged in social justice and environmental activism, and why this possible water scarcity is such a problem in the US as it disproportionately affects communities of color and Indigenous communities.” Along with the pipeline breaking Indigenous treaties surrounding the protection of water, a larger population of Indigenous people and people of color rely on these bodies of water as their drinking source. If infected millions of people could lose access to safe drinking water, and thousands of ecosystems would be irreversibly affected.

If you would like to stay informed, MN 350 is hosting a virtual information meeting with updates on the Line 3 Pipeline on Thursday at 7:30.


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