MENAHGA, Minn. — About 200 demonstrators — including actress Marisa Tomei — rallied against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project Thursday, July 15, at the Shell City Campground near Menahga, Minn.
The river is set to have three to five drilling sites where clams and manoomin, or wild rice, are abundant. These are some of the very aspects the group gathered to protect as portions of the 1855 treaty territory, event organizers said. The water and land have been harvested for thousands of years as a “sustainable economy,” according to Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth executive director.
“What we watched on the river in the past seven weeks is the impact of a drought, which we’re all experiencing, and we also watched the impact of irrigation systems and so a lot of us were awakened to the situation of this river, which is intended to be crossed five times by Enbridge,” LaDuke said. “It (the river) changes a lot according to what’s going on around it, if it’s irrigating, if it’s hot.”
Tomei called on President Joe Biden and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy to revoke the Line 3 pipeline permits and to complete a comprehensive review of how tribal treaty rights as well as the water, land, air and climate will be impacted. Speakers Thursday also called on Gov. Tim Walz to stop the project.
“It’s time to stop playing politics with the future of life on this planet,” the Academy Award-winning actress said. “If President Biden is serious about climate change, if he’s serious about respecting the rights of Indigenous people and if he’s serious about making sure we’re on track to have a livable planet then Line 3 must be stopped.”
Rita Chamblin, of Bemidji and Watch the Line MN, is concerned about what isn’t being shared, such as activities happening along the line.
“What it says to me is that the risks are there and we don’t always know what has happened unless we happen to be there. If we hadn’t happened to be there in that moment … would we have known? How would we have known? Would we have gotten information to help us understand what actually occurred?” Chamblin said about the spill of drilling fluid at Willow River.
Chamblin also emphasized the issues of treaty rights, the impacted interdependence of air, water and soil and climate justice. She said people need to “think outside of ourselves,” whether living near the line or not.
As a "water protector" since age 12, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune shared how community members in Toms River, N.J., helped shut down a pipeline. He also encouraged people to realize their strength.
“We work to fight every pipeline that’s coming from the tar sands, every coal plant that poisons our water, every gas plant, LNG terminal, every frack gassed pipeline because it’s 2021, we shouldn’t have to do all this work to simply provide clean air and clean water for ourselves,” Brune said.
Earlier in the week, Enbridge spokesperson Juli Kellner pointed out that the Line 3 replacement project has the support of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and that the White Earth Nation "was also included and invited to be part of the process" with Enbridge.