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Protesters continue fight to stop Line 3 oil pipeline in Minnesota

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Line 3 protest
Protesters lined Summit Avenue outside the Governor's Residence in St. Paul on Sunday, July 1, 2018 to continue their fight against Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline project.
Nina Moini | MPR News

Protesters gathered outside the Governor's Residence in St. Paul on Sunday afternoon to continue rallying against the proposed new Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last Thursday approved the new pipeline after emotional deliberations weighing the need and the risks of the project.

Enbridge wants to replace its 50-year-old Line 3 that runs across northern Minnesota, saying it's deteriorating and that there's a demand for more oil.

But activists such as Tracy Kugler, who among the crowd lining Summit Avenue during Sunday's protest, say the environmental risks of the project are too great. Kugler disputed that there is a valid need for the new pipeline.

"I was so disappointed by the decision that the PUC made that certified the need for this pipeline because we don't need it," she said. "We can generate power in so many other, better ways."

Ellen Hadley also was in the crowd of more than 100 people outside the governor's mansion on Sunday. Hadley said she and others won't stop fighting to stop the pipeline project.

"Our kids and grandkids and these youth climate intervenors are going to have to live with (a new pipeline)," she said. "I'm hoping the governor can hear the voices of the people who were ignored, especially the tribal voices." 

After last week's PUC decision, Gov. Mark Dayton urged everyone to express themselves peacefully and noted that even after the decision, there are several steps and permits still needed for the pipeline project to begin construction.

Enbridge wants to replace about 282 miles of its Line 3 pipeline that runs across northern Minnesota.

Several members of the PUC said they felt compelled to support the project because the current 50-year-old pipeline is deteriorating.

"How would I feel if I woke up in five years and that line had leaked?" PUC Chair Nancy Lange said at last week's hearing, referring to the possibility that the old Line 3 would continue operating, despite safety risks, if commissioners denied the proposal to replace it.