By Jake Johnson
A diverse coalition of more than 370 environmental and tribal rights organizations demanded on March 8, that President Joe Biden act immediately to halt construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, a multi-billion-dollar crude oil project that the groups called “an urgent threat” to Minnesota waters and the global climate.
In a letter (pdf), the coalition representing more than 10 million people in the U.S. and Canada urged Biden to “take swift action to revoke the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline’s permits and stop its construction,” pointing to the president’s January decision to pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline as a model for future action.
“We urge you to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately reevaluate and suspend or revoke the Line 3 project’s Clean Water Act Section 404 permit,” the groups wrote. “Additionally, we urge you to revoke or amend Line 3’s presidential permit, as you did for Keystone XL, to make it clear that the permit does not authorize this massive expansion.”
“Line 3 is a threat to water, Indigenous rights, and our global climate,” the groups warned, “and its rushed construction in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic is an extreme danger to Minnesotan communities and energy workers alike.”
With the approval of the state government, Enbridge—a Canada-based energy giant—began construction of the Minnesota portion of its Line 3 replacement project in December despite vocal opposition from Indigenous leaders, who warned the pipeline endangers local waters and tribal lands.
If completed, the pipeline would have the capacity to transport more than 750,000 barrels of crude oil per day along a more than 1,000-mile route stretching from Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin, crossing hundreds of lakes and rivers along the way.
As Common Dreams has reported in recent weeks, the pipeline has drawn sustained resistance and acts of civil disobedience from local activists and Indigenous tribes amid growing pressure on Biden to exercise his authority to halt the destructive project. More than 130 water protectors are currently facing criminal charges for their roles in recent Line 3 protests, according to Tara Houska of Stop the Money Pipeline.
“Tar sands is the dirtiest and most expensive oil on the planet to extract, and this Line 3 would add the equivalent emissions of 50 coal-fired power plants.”
Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth
Faith Spotted Eagle, coordinator of the Brave Heart Society and one of the new letter’s signatories, said in a statement Monday that “the fight against Line 3 is a defining moment in the history of the U.S. to honor the sacred lands of our tribes and take responsibility for making right a great wrong of land trespass and destruction of sacred sites and disregard of nation-to-nation bridge-building.”
“Make it right,” she added.
Another signatory, Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, noted that “Line 3’s most serious immediate impacts will be on Indigenous peoples and their lands and waters along the line.”
“But the increasing climate threats to Minnesota—and the planet—will be exponentially exacerbated by this pipeline. In short, Line 3 is a climate time bomb,” said LaDuke. “Tar sands is the dirtiest and most expensive oil on the planet to extract, and this Line 3 would add the equivalent emissions of 50 coal-fired power plants. It’s up to President Biden to continue with the country’s renewable energy agenda and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. After his action to halt Keystone XL, stopping Line 3 is essential.”
Read the letter text and full list of signers: http://priceofoil.org/line-3-biden-letter.
Jake Johnson is a Staff Writer with Common Dreams.
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