Minnesota authorities arrested eight people for trespassing and interfering with work on the state approved Enbridge Energy Line 3 replacement pipeline.
Line 3’s starting point is Alberta, Canada. From there the 337 mile, $2.6 billion dollar pipeline crosses through the corner of North Dakota before entering northern Minnesota on its way to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The original aging pipeline was built in the 1960. Corrosion in the original pipeline forced Enbridge to reduce its flow in recent years to 50 percent of its capacity to avoid leaks.
Enbridge’s replacement pipeline has been undergoing various reviews for six years. Minnesota’s Public Utility Commission, the state’s primary pipeline regulator, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Department of Natural Resources issued the final approvals the pipeline needed for completion in November 2020. North Dakota and Wisconsin had previously approved the portion of the replacement pipeline traversing their states.
Protest Despite Approvals
Despite the multiple Minnesota agencies comprehensive analyses indicating the aging pipeline must be replaced, with the new pipeline being less likely to harm the environment, approximately 150 people assembled in Northern Minnesota’s Aitkin County near the Enbridge construction site to protest the project, on January 16.
The protestors blocked a road in one area and interfered with construction workers at a second location. Most protestors dispersed when ordered to do so by Minnesota authorities, however eight people who ignored the orders were arrested.
Those arrested were booked into jail for trespassing on critical infrastructure, or, in one case, for failing to leave an unlawful assembly.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.