Indigenous Tribes’ Fight to Prevent Environmental Disaster

Image by MN350
By: Samantha Walker

Line 3 is a proposed pipeline expansion to bring a million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin.

It was proposed in 2014 by a Canadian pipeline company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the US. The company, Enbridge, plans to build a new pipeline corridor through untouched wetlands and through the Mississippi River headwaters to the shore of Lake Superior.

Not only is this placement significant because of environmental concerns, but the land is the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples. The construction of the pipeline is a direct disregard for the treaty signed by the United States government.

The construction breaks the treaty, trespasses into native land, and would directly harm the community’s main crop: wild rice.

On the environmental side, it is important to note that all oil pipelines tend to leak, which would negatively affect the surrounding environment.

With the current predictions from environmental scientists, more damage to the environment is not something the earth can handle.

“The main concern is a spill. It crosses so many rivers, if a spill happens at a river site, the entire stream would be contaminated … our ecosystems would never recover,” Sam Strong, secretary of the Red Lake Nation, told ABC News.

Tar sands, the product Enbridge is planning to transfer through the pipe, is considered to be the dirties and most energy consuming oil product available, making it an even higher environmental risk than traditional oil.

According to the Nation Park System, roughly 50 cities rely on the water that could be contamination if the line were to leak.

As a result of the concern for the environment, Enbridge has stated that the new pipeline is more sturdy than previous lines; therefore, are less likely to leak, but this claim is not enough to comfort most people.

Enbridge has already seen some negative effects from the continuation of construction as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for $3.3 million dollars. According to Minnesota, the trench dug for the pipeline is deeper than their permits allow.

While construction is still going on the pipeline, there are daily protests against the construction.

Protests are growing in volume as the company begins to near the end of construction.

Within the past few weeks, Democrats, Environmentalists, and high-profile celebrities have joined the indigenous protesters in demanding the United States government to stop the construction of Line 3.

When looking at the role of the American government a group of tribal leaders wrote,

“President Biden took decisive action on day one in office to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline protecting cultural resources, land and water of tribal nations along the route. Now, President Biden, Jaime Pinkham [Acting, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works] and the US Army Corps of Engineers have the full authority to hit pause on these pipelines until a proper assessment of the dangers they pose is completed.”

For now, without any support from the government or president, the daily protests continue.

Categories: Environmental, Featured, Politics

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