Energy & Environment

‘Squad’ members call on Biden to shut down Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota

Members of “the squad” — a group of progressive House Democrats — called on President Biden to shut down construction of the Line 3 pipeline in a Minneapolis press conference Friday, citing indigenous opposition and environmental risks.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called shutting down the pipeline a “no-brainer,” adding “President Biden has the opportunity and … the responsibility in making good on his word to be the climate president, and must direct the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the permit for Line 3.”

“The voices of indigenous people are often not prioritized … we want this issue to be elevated and for it to be important enough for the president to take action,” added Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) castigated Enbridge, the Canadian corporation behind the pipeline, saying it “line[s] the pockets of politicians to guarantee their support” and has “even taken to claiming that they act as an agent of the federal government in recent court filings.”

“Enbridge can’t be trusted in Michigan, and it can’t be trusted here in Minnesota either,” she added.

The representatives are set to visit the pipeline site in Bemidji on Saturday, where they will meet with indigenous leaders opposed to the project.

The press conference comes the same day a group of Minnesota Republicans and union members gathered in the U.S. Capitol in support of the pipeline.

“In northern Minnesota, the constituents I represent are happy this project is moving forward. Are happy about the economic benefits. Are happy about the vetting process,” Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) said Friday.

Asked about comments by Stauber accusing them of hypocrisy for flying to Minnesota, Omar quipped that they would be “crawling” to the site.

The press conference came days after a letter from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination requested that the federal government respond to allegations of human rights violations associated with the pipeline construction.

The letter came in response to a petition from indigenous advocacy organizations, which claim the Anishinaabe nation was not properly consulted before construction. The petition also says construction, which is nearly complete, poses risks to both indigenous people and the agricultural ecosystems they rely on.

“Here we have a Canadian multinational corporation that is not only a climate criminal in a time of climate chaos, but a corporation and a country which is now promoting violence against Indigenous peoples, a total denial of our rights to continue food security, existence, environmental eco-side damage, and certainly the violation of treaty rights and all agreements under our laws and under international laws,” Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, said in a statement. 

“We are grateful that the United Nations is asking questions to the United States and we believe that good nations should uphold their treaties and good countries should not wage war on Indigenous peoples,” she added.

In a statement to The Hill, an Enbridge spokesperson said the representatives’ letter calling on Biden to shut down the pipeline “includes many errors.”

“The replacement of Line 3 is a safety and maintenance driven project replacing a 1960’s era aging pipeline with a safer one made of thicker steel with more advanced coatings,” the spokesperson added.

“The project restores the pipeline to its original design capacity,” they said. “After six years of science-based review and multiple approvals, Line 3 is the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota history. The pipeline has already been replaced in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin.”

Updated 3:50 p.m.

 
Tags Ayanna Pressley Ilhan Omar Joe Biden Pete Stauber Rashida Tlaib
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