Environmental justice campaigners expressed solidarity over the weekend with nearly 70 people who were arrested Saturday by Minnesota law enforcement as they assembled outside Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s home, demanding the governor take action to stop the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.
Protesters were loaded into buses after police threatened dozens with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) for peacefully protesting the pipeline, which violates the treaty rights
of the Anishinaabe people as well as threatening water safety in northern Minnesota.
RootsAction urged supporters to donate to bail funds for the campaigners, many of whom have been arrested multiple times for standing up for Indigenous rights, public health, and the future of the planet.
On Saturday, more than 100 people marched to Walz’s mansion from the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, demanding the governor live up to campaign statements he made opposing the pipeline and intervene in the permitting process for Line 3.
Walz has expressed support for moving “away from fossil fuels,” but since taking office he has declined to stop construction, which is now on the verge of completion.
“If we’re gonna transport oil, we need to do it as safely as we possibly can with the most modern equipment,” said
Walz on Friday as thousands of demonstrators camped out
on the grounds of the state Capitol.
At the rally in front of the governor’s home on Saturday, Indigenous water protectors read a statement demanding action from Walz and President Joe Biden, who advocates say should suspend the permit allowing construction of the Line 3 pipeline under the Clean Water Act and “undertake a thorough review” of the federal permitting process and the project.
“Line 3 violates treaties by threatening water, manoomin, and our climate, leading to the loss of usufructuary and cultural rights,” said
the organizers. “President Biden, as well, has failed to uphold treaties and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent by allowing the project to proceed without nation to nation consultation with sovereign tribes opposed to the project.”
Organizers including Taysha Martineau, one of the Anishinaabe women leading the resistance to the pipeline, chained themselves to the gates in front of Walz’s mansion before the arrests.
“I’m here locked to the fence demanding that Governor Tim Walz speak to us,” Martineau said. “We’re calling on Governor Walz to pull the permits for Line 3 and demanding a federal Environmental Impact Statement for the project. Water protectors marched 256 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to speak with this gentleman. He has not come to listen to their voices and so we came here. We’re here demanding that they hear us.”