On Thursday June 1, 2016, myself and other members from MPIRG, Honor the Earth, MN 350, and the Sierra Club gathered in Duluth, Minnesota with Winona LaDuke to discuss our summer campaign plans on Enbridge’s Line 3 abandonment pipeline.
Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline stretches over 300 miles across Northern Minnesota, reaching Red Lake, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac reservations and the 1855 and 1842 treaty areas (Honor the Earth). This specific pipeline ships Tar Sands crude from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. Line 3 has been around since 1961, but recently the structural integrity of the line has been questioned; current estimates show that Line 3 has more than 900 integrity “anomalies” (irregularities). Often these damages lead to corrosion and long seam cracking likely resulting in amounts of toxic oil coming in contact with the surrounding soil.
Enbridge plans to simply abandon the Line 3 Pipeline and build a new Line 3 replacement pipeline that would fall in the same corridor as the new proposed Sandpiper pipeline. Through eminent domain, Enbridge is able to build these proposed pipelines on the lands of tribal members, homeowners, and local businesses across Greater Minnesota; however, they face no responsibility to deal with a line once a project fails. The negative effects of an abandoned pipeline may end up falling on the shoulders of nearby landowners.
MPIRG students at the University of Minnesota Duluth believe that this is an issue of great environmental injustice. We are ready to take action and stop the Pipeline Line 3 abandonment. Through research, outreach and mobilizing the youth vote, we plan to engage young people and the community members of Duluth and across Greater Minnesota along the Line 3 abandonment pipeline route.
During the summer we will bring together young people to do canvassing to get people registered to vote and educate our community about the issue. Education for landowners about their rights is essential in this fight. On campus, we will spread information on the Line 3 abandonment campaign and landowner’s rights to garner support from our peers in our pipeline resistance fight. We believe it is important to connect these landowners along the pipeline route with the students at UMD.
Sophie Varner, UMD MPIRG Board of Directors Representative