If an arsonist was sneaking into your home with the gasoline and matches to burn it to the ground, how would you respond?
If the professional firefighters were nowhere to be found, and no one picked up on your 911 call, how would you respond?
If your family and neighbors passed buckets of water down the line to help you put out the fire, but the police came to arrest your family rather than the arsonist, how would you respond?
These images went through my mind as I sat near the sacred fire at Camp Manoomin on the White Earth Nation lands in northern Minnesota in mid-July. One of five indigenous camps leading Water Protectors in actions across northern Minnesota, Camp Manoomin was my introduction to the devastation occurring from the construction of Line 3.
Enbridge LLC, the Canadian company building Line 3, is working night and day to finish this pipeline to carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Lake Superior and beyond.
With runaway climate chaos so clearly present everywhere this summer, can anyone deny that our planetary home is on fire? We’re being boiled alive. Climate scientists are admitting they might have badly misjudged how quickly and how badly our planet might be warming. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is warning us that we may have crossed some planetary thresholds (tipping points) which will be impossible to reverse and repair. And in northern Minnesota — the Line 3 pipeline will unlock CO2 emissions equivalent to 50 coal plants!
Line 3 is set to cross more than 200 waterways and cut through the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where the Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice. As Minnesota experiences a severe drought, Enbridge will be using nearly 5 billion gallons of water, 10 times more than it originally requested for construction.
Enbridge expects to complete Line 3 construction by the end of August, and commence testing and delivery by the end of the year. Although there’s an appeal pending in the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop Line 3, the decision will be too late. Action is needed today. How would you respond if the arsonist was sneaking into your home?
The Tribal Council and Elders of the White Earth Nation are calling on Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan to meet with them, nation-to-nation, to respect the Treaties and the rights of the Indigenous peoples to hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, harvest and cultivate wild rice, and preserve sacred or culturally significant sites.
Water protectors are asking everyone to contact Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan here, contact President Biden here, contact Secretary of the Department of Interior Debra Haaland here, contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (agency responsible for permitting and monitoring the Line 3 construction) here. The message is simple. #StopLine3, Keep fossil fuels in the ground, Protect our water, Respect treaty rights.
The Mississippi River looks very fragile when you stand at its headwaters in northern Minnesota. Drilling a pipeline below and near the river is the epitome of mankind’s arrogance and disrespect for Mother Earth. Please take action today, and visit the Mississippi headwaters if you can.