Oil and water: The Line 3 debate

Line 3 opponents not giving up despite nearly complete pipeline project

People stand at the front of a rally.
Indigenous elders including Mary Lyons, center, stand at the front of the crowd gathered for the Treaties not Tar Sands rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Hundreds gathered outside the Minnesota Capitol Wednesday as part of a week of events protesting Enbridge Energy's Line 3 pipeline project.

The Minnesota segment of the pipeline is approaching 90 percent completion, while the portions in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin are already finished.

But dedicated environmental activists like Jaike Spotted Wolf said they are not giving up.

Spotted Wolf, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes from North Dakota, now lives in Seattle, but has spent months protesting Line 3.

Spotted Wolf said the climate crisis unfolding across the country, from fires to flooding and record heat, show that environmental issues impact everyone.

"All these weather events that are definitely not normal, and all that money going into oil that's continual and perpetual could be going into those green energy projects," Spotted Wolf said.

A spokesperson for Enbridge said this week the project has created jobs and millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenues that will positively impact tribal nations.

The protest comes the same week that the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from pipeline opponents, eliminating many of their legal options.

A woman walks with her fist in the air.
Activist and Honor the Earth founder Winona LaDuke marches with a group to the Treaties not Tar Sands rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Environmental activist Winona LaDuke, who is Anishinaabe, lives on the White Earth Reservation.

LaDuke said despite setbacks, activists are still calling on the Biden administration to put a stop to further construction over environmental concerns.

"I want the Minnesota that I stand for, I don't want the Minnesota that is owned by Enbridge, that's this moment. This is a moment when we have got a choice between oil and water, and we've got to pick water," she said.

The Line 3 replacement will carry Canadian crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisc. Enbridge expects to put it into service sometime later this year.

Correction (Aug. 30, 2021): Sam Strong was misidentified in an earlier photo caption. The cutline has been updated.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.