Protesters march against oil pipeline expansion

Oil protest in downtown St. Paul
Protesters marched through downtown St. Paul on Saturday to protest the construction of oil pipelines in Minnesota and the expansion of oil production in Canada.
Tim Post | MPR News

A large group of protesters marched through downtown St. Paul Saturday, expressing opposition to oil pipelines in Minnesota and the expansion of oil extraction in Canada.

The protest comes a day after state regulators approved a pipeline designed by Canadian company Enbridge that would move 225,000 barrels of North Dakota crude oil across Minnesota per day.

Richard Smith, who heads up the group Friends of the Headwaters, says the Enbridge project could put sensitive water resources at risk.

"They shouldn't have the right to exploit our water resources, our headwaters of the Mississippi, our lakes and streams, our wild rice and our drinking water," he said.

Sharon Day, with the Indigenous People's Task Force, fears expanding oil production in Canada and moving more oil through the state will hurt the environment.

"If you want your grandchildrens' grandchildren to have life, to have clean water, then we must all do what we can," Day said.

In response to the protest, a coalition of business and labor groups released a statement saying Minnesota refineries rely on Canadian crude oil to do business.

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