September 30, 2021–Despite years of resistance from Indigenous communities, this week, Canadian oil company Enbridge announced that its controversial Line 3 extension pipeline would begin operating on October 1. The pipeline is expected to run through areas of Northern Minnesota and ceded lands where Indigenous Anishinaabe communities exercise hunting, fishing, and gathering rights pursuant to treaties recognized by federal law. The pipeline would destroy culturally important wild rice beds, risk catastrophic spills, and significantly contribute to climate change, representing the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

EarthRights Executive Director Ka Hsaw Wa issued the following statement: 

“From Myanmar to Minnesota, we see human rights abuses go hand in hand with oil and gas infrastructure projects, and Line 3 is no exception. Indigenous water protectors and allies have fought in the courts and through public protests and civil disobedience to halt the construction of Line 3. That is because Line 3 is destructive and dangerous. Its expansion will undermine Indigenous treaty rights, threaten vital natural resources, and contribute to our climate crisis.  

“We implore the Biden administration to listen to the Indigenous communities that would be harmed most directly by the pipeline and cancel the project immediately. We cannot let a single drop of tar sands flow through the Line 3 expansion pipeline, nor can we allow for the construction of any more tar sands pipelines. The world is at a tipping point; to avert climate catastrophe, we must stop doubling down on destructive fossil fuel infrastructure and instead forge a path to a brighter, more sustainable future. EarthRights will continue to rise in solidarity with the brave water protectors who put everything on the line to resist this potentially disastrous project. 

“With COP26 right around the corner, we implore world leaders to start listening to Indigenous and frontline communities who steward most of the planet’s natural resources while contributing the least to climate change. We must support their resistance to destructive fossil fuel and deforestation projects and ensure they have a meaningful voice in development projects that affect them.” 

Kate Fried
EarthRights International
(202) 257.0057