Sandpiper / Line 3 Corridor
Note: This post comes from Honor the Earth. For the most up-to-date info—including a timeline of past and future regulatory actions—visit their website.
We live in the North. This is the only land that the Anishinaabe know, and we know that this land is good land, and this water is our life-blood. One-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply lies here, and it is worth protecting. Our wild rice beds, lakes, and rivers are precious – and our regional fisheries generate $7.2 billion annually, and support 49,000 jobs. The tourism economy of northern Minnesota represents $ll.9 billion in gross sales (or 240,000 jobs).
All of this is threatened by the proposed Sandpiper and Line 3 pipeline corridor. For us, on the White Earth reservation in northwestern Minnesota, these pipelines threaten our community, and our way of life. These lines would cross pristine aquatic ecosystems. This land and this water are precious and they are endangered.
Enbridge estimates that the current Line 3 pipeline has over 900 integrity "anomalies." Instead of fixing the pipeline and cleaning up their mess; they are seeking to abandon the Line 3 pipeline and build the new Sandpiper line. The abandoned pipeline would cause substantial water damage through contamination and unnatural drainage. You can read more information on this fact sheet.
On November 29, 2016, Canada's federal government officially approved Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. Once the last piece of Dakota Access pipe is removed from the ground, we at Honor the Earth will turn our focus back to Line 3. Similar in size and purpose to the recently defeated Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3 is proposed to transport tar sands oil over 1000 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, right through the heart of Anishinaabe territory and some of the best lakes and wild rice beds in the world. The proposed route endangers three of the continent’s major watersheds including the Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world’s fresh water. It would also pierce the heart of Ojibwe treaty lands, where members of signatory bands retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony, and travel. It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this. We will not allow Line 3 to desecrate our lands, violate our treaty rights, or poison our water.
With a cost of $7.5 billion, Line 3 is the largest project in Enbridge’s history, and would be one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the continent, carrying up to 760,000 barrels per day. Enbridge calls this project a “replacement” because they already have a Line 3 pipeline in their mainline corridor, which transects Northern Minnesota with 6 pipelines in it. But don’t be fooled – this is a new pipeline. The new pipe would be larger (36” instead of 34”), carry nearly twice the volume of oil, and establish an entirely new corridor through Northern Minnesota. That is not a replacement. And to top it all off, Enbridge simply wants to walk away from the old, crumbling Line 3 pipeline and abandon it in the ground. Unfortunately, there is no federal or state regulation to speak of that would prevent tribes and landowners from the extreme financial and ecological liability this poses. But tribes are standing up, and landowners are coming together to take action.
Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline has already faced 2 years of fierce resistance in the Great Lakes, led by Ojibwe tribes and grassroots groups like Honor the Earth, MN350, and Friends of the Headwaters. For 4 years, we fought the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would have established the new corridor in which Enbridge also wants to put the new Line 3. Eventually, we succeeded in our efforts to combine the Sandpiper and Line 3 applications into one regulatory process in Minnesota, and a successful Friends of the Headwaters lawsuit forced the State of Minnesota to conduct a full, cumulative Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on both lines.
In August, 2016, we defeated the Sandpiper and Enbridge canceled their plans for that project. But the battle against Line 3 remains. The State of Minnesota is currently writing the EIS for Line 3, after many months of battle over what the study would include, who would perform the analyses, and which alternatives would be considered. The draft EIS is scheduled to be released in April 2017 and the public will have a chance to comment at a series of public hearings.
- Pipeline Cleanup MN (Community opposition to the pipeline)
- Read National Wildlife Federation's Report detailing Enbridge spills, reckless expansion, and unseemly marketing tactics.
- Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response (2016)
- Growth of Tar Sands Across the Midwest
- Enbridge Line 3 Fact Sheet