August 11, 2017, Turtle Island – While the British Columbia provincial government yesterday was prohibiting Kinder Morgan from starting work on its Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline and tanker project on public land until First Nations rights are respected, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was on site celebrating the start of construction of Enbridge’s “Line 3” project, a tar sands pipeline also mired in Indigenous opposition – including from the 150 First Nations and Tribes who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. That opposition to Line 3 is growing all along its route but its epicenter remains in Minnesota where Tribes and water protectors are promising to stand in its path, like the group of young water protectors who will be embarking starting Saturday August 12 on a 3 – week, 250- mile canoe journey across northern Minnesota called the “Paddle to Protect” – to stand for the lakes, the manoomin (wild rice) beds and the 1855 treaty territories of the Ojibwe people.
“There’s not going to be a Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline out West jeopardizing our coasts, there’s not going to be a TransCanada contaminating the Ogallala aquifer, nor is there going to be an Enbridge one poisoning the lakes and wild rice beds in Minnesota,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “We commend the new BC government for standing up for BC, especially for appointing Thomas Berger as their external counsel, and for wanting to be on the right side of history regarding these climate – killing tar sands pipelines.”
“Our people were at Standing Rock and all the ingredients for another Standing Rock -style stand in defence of our water are there. And the youth are leading the way again, including raising awareness about the dangers of Line 3 with the ‘Paddle to Protect’, a3-week 250-mile canoe journey across northern Minnesota” said Winona Laduke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an Indigenous Environmental organization based on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. “We don’t need this pipeline, we don’t want this pipeline and we’re going to stop it.”
Enbridge’s Line 3 and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion were both approved by the Trudeau government on the same day on November 29 despite the strong opposition of First Nations across the country. Construction on Line 3 has begun in Canada despite the fact that many Treaty Alliance member First Nations along the route have not given their consent and firmly oppose the work. Meanwhile, the regulatory process is not even finished yet in Minnesota.
“Anyone out there celebrating the start of construction better realize that the opposition to this Line 3 tar sands pipeline is only getting bigger. Do you think our Indigenous people and our allies all over North America are going to let Tribal peoples in Minnesota fight this alone –
do you think our young people will let that happen?” Added Kevin Hart, Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Manitoba on behalf of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. “Enbridge, the company behind the Line 3 pipeline,is hated in Indian country: our people will never forget that Enbridge tried unsuccessfully to ram through the Northern Gateway pipeline in BC, that they ran roughshod over the rights of the Chippewas of the Thames with their Line 9 pipeline and that they are one quarter owners of the criminal Dakota Access pipeline.”
Enbridge is replacing its old Line 3 pipeline that has a current effective capacity of 390,000 bpd with a new expanded pipeline with the capacity to transport 915,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day–a difference of 525,000 barrels (the same amount of tar sands oil that would have been transported by the now defunct Northern Gateway pipeline). The 150 First Nations and Tribes who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion have committed to standing together to collectively stop Line 3, the Trans Mountain Expansion, Keystone XL and Energy East.
For more information, please contact:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Winona Laduke, Executive Director,Honor the Earth
Cell: (218) 280-1720
Kevin Hart, AFN Regional Chief for Manitoba