Energy & Environment

Omar calls on Biden to block pipeline being built in Minnesota

Bonnie Cash

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Wednesday urged President Biden to block the construction of a pipeline that would cross through her state to carry oil from Canada to Wisconsin after a court refused to temporarily block its construction. 

Omar, in a letter to Biden, invoked both climate change and tribal rights issues.

“I joined millions of Americans celebrating your announcement to withdraw permits for the Keystone XL pipeline,” the congresswoman wrote. “I ask that you extend this scrutiny to another massive fossil fuel infrastructure project that will have a comparable impact on our planet: the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline currently being constructed across Minnesota.”

She noted that like the Keystone XL, from which Biden revoked a border-crossing permit on his first day in office, the Line 3 pipeline would carry tar sands oil, the production of which is carbon-intensive. 

“Under even the best-case scenarios for climate change, we cannot afford to build more fossil fuel infrastructure,” Omar wrote. “Wetlands can’t heal if the climate changes precipitation and temperatures. Indigenous treaty rights are meaningless if the areas are too polluted or unstable to hunt or fish or gather wild rice.” 

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment. 

Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed back on the White House’s Keystone XL move, including by introducing a long-shot bill aimed at circumventing Biden’s authority on the issue. 

The letter also comes one day after a Minnesota state appeals court rejected a request from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and White Earth Band of Ojibwe to pause the pipeline’s construction while legal disputes over it are resolved. 

The tribes argued that construction of the pipeline could be completed before the court decides its fate, but the court argued that if construction is complete, it could still decide to force the pipeline to stop operating. 

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