Activist hold 24 Hour Block Party Protesting Oil Pipeline in St. Paul

“We know Enbridge does not want to replace the line, because it would cost them a lot more."

Edgar Linares
May 18, 2018 - 7:50 pm

By Edgar Linares


Native American groups are camped outside the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in St. Paul to urge the commission to reject an oil companies request to replace a crude oil pipeline with a pipeline called Line 3 in northern Minnesota.

The rally brought several organizations together and activists from across the nation who had been part of the protests at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

On Thursday, the Minnesota House voted 74-53 on a bill that would allow Enbridge Energy to bypass the commission and proceed with replacing the line with another that would stretch 337 miles in northern Minnesota. The bill passed earlier by the Senate is headed to Governor Mark Dayton’s desk.

“We know Enbridge does not want to replace the line, because it would cost them a lot more to un-dig it and then redo it,” said Nancy Beaulieu, a citizen of the Leech Lake band of the Ojibwe tribe. “So when we say no Line 3, we mean no Line 3.”

The group says Line 3 would threaten Minnesota’s clean lakes and rivers and would violate treaty rights.

The bill’s chief author Republican. Sen. David Osmek of Mound said the project would increase North American oil production and meet domestic demand. 

“Originally ordered to be replaced in the Obama Administration, the Line 3 project has been extensively vetted and meets our state’s regulatory standards," Osmek said. “There is no more time for costly delays. This project will bring sustainable, good-paying jobs to our state, improve our rural communities, and ensure oil is transported in the safest way possible across Minnesota. The time to get this done is now.”

Governor Mark Dayton opposes the bill saying it would bypass the commission’s normal regulatory process. He’s expected to the veto the bill once it reaches his desk.

The Public Utilities Commission is expected to make a decision on the permits by late June.