Line 3 opponents send permit case to state’s highest court

Groups opposed to the Line 3 pipeline have filed a legal challenge in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

According to a release, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, Friends of the Headwaters, and Youth Climate Interveners are seeking an appeal to a lower court’s decision to uphold the Public Utilities Commission’s Certificate of Need for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline.

“Minnesota decision-makers have repeatedly failed to protect the health of our communities, clean water, and climate by allowing Enbridge to trample on Indigenous treaty rights for the sake of a tar sands pipeline we don’t even need,” said Margaret Levin, State Director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter.

“We will continue to make our case in court that the permits for this dirty tar sands pipeline should never have been approved, but with construction underway, there is no time to waste. We urge President Biden to step in, live up to his commitments to climate action and environmental justice, and stop Line 3.”

Hundreds of water protectors are planning to converge along the Shell River in Aitkin County today.

“Now we appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court to right the wrongs that the state and its rogue agencies have foisted on the Anishinaabe of the north during climate change and the unraveling of the tar sands economy in Canada, plus the worst drought that we can remember as the DNR and Enbridge withdraw 5 billion gallons of water from a fragile ecosystem,” says Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth.

“The Anishinaabe are a sovereign people petitioning this court as an independent nation with constitutionally protected treaty rights that Enbridge, the PUC, and the Governor’s office trample on time and again. We intend to uphold our rights, our land, and water, even as we take our case to the highest court in Minnesota.”

Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, expected to be complete by the end of this year, will transport 760,000 barrels of crude oil each day, restoring the historical capacity of Line 3, which is limited due to its corrosion.

Opponents charge that the pipeline will cross more than 200 bodies of water, including lakes, wetlands, and rivers, posing risks to Minnesota’s freshwater resources.

The PUC’s approval was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals last month, though Judge Peter Reyes issued a dissenting opinion, noting that the PUC “committed legal errors and acted arbitrarily or capriciously by granting [Enbridge] a certificate of need that is unsupported by substantial evidence.”


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north-central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment, and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji and enjoys spending her spare time with her son Logan, daughter Brigid, and pets Vincent and Piper. She also loves reading, Star Trek, and gardening... badly.


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