What is "Line 3"?

"Line 3" is a massive tar sands pipeline expansion project proposed by Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, the same company that is responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the United States. It would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through tribal lands and fragile watersheds in northern Minnesota.

Why stop Line 3?

"The worst possible route."

The route of the proposed expansion (which is underway and nearing completion) would run through 340 miles of northern Minnesota, traversing 3 indigenous reservations, 75 miles of fragile wetlands, and over 200 bodies of water including the Mississippi River, twice.

It violates treaties, threatens countless indigenous historic and sacred sites, and endangers some of the last and largest wild rice beds in the world, which happen to be a primary economic, nutritional, and cultural resource for Anishinaabe people.

"This is the place where the wild things are. The place where rivers are clear," says water protector Winona LaDuke. "It’s our place. Wild rice, it’s the only place in the world that grows it. And Enbridge wants to put the last tar sands pipeline through this."

STOP LINE 3 map of proposed route from grist
image from

It's not a question of "if", but "when".

The unfortunate fact is that pipelines leak. A study by the US Department of Transportation found that there is a 57% chance of a "major" spill in any ten year period for any given pipeline (KAI 2012, Leak Detection Study – DTPH56-11-D-00001) and Enbridge alone has been responsible for over 800 spills in the last 15 years, including the 1.3 million gallons spilt in the Kalamazoo River in 2010, and the 1.7 million gallons spilt just outside Grand Rapids MN in 1991. 

Indigenous rights matter.

The opposed construction of Line 3 violates treaty agreements about land use as well as the fundamental principles of indigenous sovereignty guaranteed by the US Constitution and affirmed repeatedly by the US Supreme Court.

Ojibwe tribal members are guaranteed usufructuary rights which allow them to hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, harvest and cultivate wild rice, and preserve sacred or culturally significant sites, even on ceded territory. This pipeline expansion threatens all of that. 

Furthermore, the State of Minnesota’s Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 acknowledges that the project will have “disproportionate and adverse impacts” on Native people (Section 11.5). It has been approved anyway. This is the definition of environmental racism.

Climate change is real.

Greenpeace calls the Line 3 Expansion "starkly inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement," and more than 100 scientists - leading experts in climate change research, economics, geophysics and biology - have signed the call for a moratorium on tar/oil sands development specifically, calling it "the dirtiest" form of fuel. 

Global warming is happening, and it is being caused by fossil fuel emissions from human industrial civilization. As states, at this point in the climate crisis, "new oil pipeline" should not even be in our vocabulary. 

How to help stop Line 3:

Water protectors stand thigh-deep in a river, holding hands. photo by Nicholas Pfosi - Reuters

photo by Nicholas Pfosi - Reuters


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