The Battle Against the Line 3 Pipeline Pits Tribal Nations Against the Oil Giant.


The Battle Against the Line 3 Pipeline Pits Tribal Nations Against the Oil Giant.

The Shell River was only a few inches deep where it abutted the Central Minnesota encampment where Dawn Kier and her colleagues were living, and was named after the clams and mussels that lined its riverbed. On a recent late-summer evening, Kier sat in a lawn chair near the water, watching the river flow past swaying cattails and thin stands of wild rice nearly ready for harvest. Kier, on the other hand, was well aware of the complexities lurking behind the surface.

As twilight fell on the canopy of pine trees above, Kier said, “There’s this whole water system underneath the riverbed.” “And where the water rises to the surface, there are fissures and fissions.” She was concerned about what else might be seeping through those fissures as a result of Enbridge’s building of the Line 3 pipeline across the region.

“Enbridge drills so far into the water that they risk hitting the aquifers,” Kier said, referring to a frac-out, or a release of drilling fluids. This summer, hundreds of gallons of drilling fluids were spilled in the region, potentially disrupting ecosystems and choking mussels and fish.

During a severe drought, Enbridge drained billions of gallons of water from the tributary to construct pipes beneath the riverbed, causing water levels in the river, which eventually drains into the Mississippi, to drop as much as six inches in a single day.

Kier, a White Earth Nation citizen and Anishinaabe woman in her late 40s, is living here to safeguard the region from further devastation. (The Anishinaabe are a Native American tribe who originated in the Great Lakes region of what is now the United States and Canada.) She’s been running an encampment here for the entire summer, one of six Indigenous-led camps for individuals who call themselves water protectors and have been fighting Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline construction.

Line 3 zigzags approximately 350 miles across Minnesota and through more than 200 bodies of water, making it Enbridge’s largest project to date and a part of North America’s longest pipeline. Last December, work on the project, which involves rerouting and expanding an existing pipeline, began.

After running on a platform of combating climate change, water protectors had high hopes that President. This is a condensed version of the information.


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