What Is Line 3?

This is not just another pipeline. It is a tar sands climate bomb; if completed, it will facilitate the production of crude oil for decades to come.

Louise Erdrich

Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy’s proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline would cut 337 miles across northern Minnesota, carrying 760,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. One of the last major tar sands expansion projects in North America, Line 3 would damage the climate as much as 50 new coal plants, and cut across the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory of the Anishinaabe people and the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It would make Minnesotans less safe by bringing more toxic oil through our state for export and filling northern communities with out-of-state workers in a pandemic.

Line 3 has been proposed as a replacement for an older, existing pipeline which is part of Enbridge’s Mainline System. Much of the proposed Line 3 route (red line on the below map) would be a new corridor that does not currently have Enbridge pipelines. The company proposes to leave most of the old line in place underground. The new Line 3 would be physically larger, designed to carry heavier oil, and in a different trench from its predecessor. It is more properly described as a new pipeline rather than a replacement.

“There is nowhere worse on earth to have an oil sands pipeline system than the Great Lakes region. It is, everything else aside, the world’s worst planning.”

Rachel Havrelock, founder of University of Illinois Freshwater Lab

This climate-bomb pipeline would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands oil a day — equivalent to ​50 coal plants ​with a carbon footprint exceeding the entire current output of Minnesota. Similar in size to the just cancelled Keystone XL, Line 3 would ​extend the economic viability​ of the Alberta Tarsands for 10-20 years. The pipeline violates treaties that establish the right of Ojibwe people to hunt, fish, and gather along the route and threatens ​200 bodies of water​, including the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.

How We Resist

Tribal nations, landowners, community and climate groups in Minnesota are facing off to stop Enbridge Energy from completing the massive Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota. After seven years of battling the Pipeline through the courts and permitting process the fight has now turned to frontline action led by Indigenous water protectors, which aims to delay construction long enough to mount a national campaign to push the Biden administration to revoke permits and allow one of multiple legal challenges to play out.

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In November, Democratic Governor Tim Walz’ administration greenlighted construction. During his primary election in 2018 Walz had promised that he would not support any Pipeline that went through Native treaty lands. His sudden reversal in November was a major betrayal of that promise, coming just weeks after historic turnout of Native voters across Minnesota and nationally which delivered the election for Biden. Climate was the number 2 concern cited by Democratic voters in Minnesota in 2020. Nonetheless, Walz caved to the economic power of a massive Canadian company and pressure from the building trades who were also major backers of his 2018 campaign.

Construction began immediately, with Enbridge rushing to get the Pipeline in the ground before litigation by the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Honor the Earth, Friends of the Headwaters, Sierra Club, the Youth Climate Intervenors and the State of Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce can be heard this spring. A federal case challenging the Army Corps of Engineers permits for the river crossing was also filed on December 28th — there are also appeals for a stay on construction at the state level.

On the ground resistance, led by Native organizers has disrupted and delayed Pipeline construction at multiple worksites. As of Feb 1, 2020 nearly 100 people have been arrested in nonviolent civil disobedience, with actions happening about 2-3 times a week. There are now at least 4 resistance encampments spread across the 337 mile Pipeline pathway. Momentum is building despite cold winter conditions and a historic pandemic. This standoff has the potential to create a major crisis for both the Walz administration and Biden administrations. ​To truly nationalize the fight, and create a major climate inflection point, organizers in Minnesota need continued funding for mobilization and legal defense of protestors, court challenges to the Pipeline and especially for a more strategic communications effort to tell the dramatic story of what is unfolding in Minnesota.

Movement Voter Project and Equation Campaign are tracking funding needs of eight groups, prioritizing Native-led organizing or multi-racial groups very closely aligned with Native organizing. This memo was put together by Laura Flynn, Minnesota State Advisor for Movement Voter Project, Marian Moore of Jubilee Justice who have both been working closely with climate and Indigenous groups opposing Line 3 for several years, organizing donors, and writing about the crisis. Both have spent time on the frontlines since construction began; Marian was arrested in a civil disobedience action on December 14th.

Current Funding Needs

Giniw Collective

Giniw Collective​, an Indigeous women led collective, plays a major leadership role in the Line 3 struggle. They host an encampment in Northern MN near the pathway of the Pipeline and are holding down much of the direct action, including a 10-day tree sit, multiple blockades of Enbridge pipe yards, and several mass arrest events. You can read a beautiful piece by GINIW Founder Tara Houska in Vogue​. Funding is needed to warmly house, feed and train Water Protectors willing to take direct action, and to do it safely. Specifically Giniw is raising funds to buy additional yurts. Funding is also needed to support stronger communications work to tell Giniw’s story.

C-3 donations can be made via their fiscal sponsor:

Mail to: 23103 Marine View Dr, Des Moines, WA 98198
Memo: Giniw Collective
EIN: 83-2398323
For wire transfers, please contact Annie Plotkin-Madrigal at the Equation Campaign: annie@equationcampaign.org 

Honor The Earth

Honor The Earth​, an Indigenous-led climate organization headquartered near the White Earth reservation in Northern MN has led key legal work and is a party to several of the legal challenges. They own the Palisade Land near the Mississippi Pipeline crossing where the ​Water Protector Welcome Center ​is growing by the day. Funding is needed to continue to welcome and support Water Protectors (Winter camping supplies, Yurts, Construction of an Outdoor Kitchen and additional outhouses.) Funds are needed to support the legal challenges and to greatly increase communications capacity.

Mail checks to: Honor The Earth
PO Box 63
Callaway, MN 56521 EIN 45-4714238

Contact: Amber Burroughs

MN350 Line 3 Campaign

MN350​ is a multi-racial climate justice organization with offices in the Twin Cities and Bemidji, MN (close to the Pipeline and the Red Lake Reservation.) The Bemidji office is Indigenous-led. MN350 has a 40-person (volunteer) Line 3 Resistance Team of trained and experienced organizers. They also play a key role in mobilizing people and supplies north as well as in convening Minnesota-based and National Coalitions opposing Line 3. Funding is needed for mobilization, communications/narrative and a Minnesota-based digital campaign. ​MN350 also administers the Frontline Fund ​which provides direct Support to BIPOC WaterProtectors facing security threats or financial barriers to participation in Line 3 work.

Mail checks to:
4407 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55406 Memo: StopLine3
EIN 45-2754381

Contact Kate Jacobsen

Center for Protest Law and Litigation

The Center for Protest Law and Litigation has been providing emergency legal support to front-line activists at Enbridge Line 3. The on-the-ground legal team is being led by Minneapolis civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner, with CPLL coordinating the provision of funding support to the defense team. CPLL will also continue to provide technical, briefing and other legal support as needed. In addition to legal defense, CPLL is also exploring (together with ​EarthRights International​, see below) affirmative legal strategies around the relationship between Enbridge and law enforcement and security forces “protecting” the pipeline.

*As the pipeline continues to be built, and as people continue to put their bodies on the line to protect their homelands, there will be an ongoing need for funds for provision of on-the-ground legal support over the next six months. Costs are hard to predict -we don’t know 1) the number of people who will be arrested, or threatened with civil and criminal penalties and 2) what those charges will be. Costs associated with legal defense are contingent on the quantity and severity of the charges, but we expect that they will continue to be numerous and overblown.

Mail checks to:
Center for Protest Law and Litigation/PCJF 617 Florida Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
If you would like to donate securities or via wire transfer please call us at 202.232.1180 x500 or email Mara Verheyden-Hilliard