Line 3 Vigil @ MN Governor's Mansion

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On Tuesday, February 12th, Governor Tim Walz is expected to announce his decision on whether or not to continue the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) legal challenge to the PUC decision to allow Enbridge Energy to build its Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota. With the deadline looming, a hearty group of concerned citizens took to the streets Saturday night for a vigil in front of the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul.

Several dozen community members, bundled up in layers against the near-zero degree temperatures, spent the evening of February 9th holding candles and home-made signs on the front steps as each took a turn at the microphone telling the crowd why they opposed the Line 3 pipeline. The vigil opened with an acknowledgement of the groups standing on stolen indigenous land. Many spoke to a feeling of betrayal as Governor Walz appears ready to stand down the government and allow Enbridge to move forward with the pipeline process.

Highlighting the very real dangers to Minnesota’s fresh-water supplies, one speaker said “This reminds me that if the new line 3 gets built, the headwaters of the Mississippi could get polluted with tar sands oil.” Another spoke of the Lakota legend of the black snake, telling the crowd that “it’s time to stop the black snake before it snakes its way into our rivers and waterways.”

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Enbridge Energy has repeatedly spoke on the care and increased safety that a new Line 3 would provide, but according to a Greenpeace report published in November of 2018, Enbridge has reported a total of 307 hazardous liquids incidents over the past 16 years, an average of one spill every 20 days. In total during the time of the study, Enbridge spilled “66,059 barrels (2.8 million gallons … ) of hazardous liquids.”

Before and during his campaign Governor Walz spoke out several times against allowing Enbridge to build the Line 3 project. In tweets from 2017, he wrote “Any line that goes through treaty lands is a nonstarter for me" going so far as to state that "every route would disproportionately affect native people. Unacceptable." 

Organizers of the vigil tonight voiced disappointment and frustration with Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and their silence on this issue now that they are in office. The group’s ultimate goal would be to deny Enbridge’s Line 3 project, and move Minnesota away from fossil fuels. Continuing the DOC challenge, they said, is the bare minimum. 

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Photos: Martin Sheeks

Post Editing: Kayla Koterwski

Words: Martin Sheeks