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November 14

Water Protectors Protest Outside Home of Commissioner Who Gave Green Light to Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline

Action report on continued demonstrations against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in so-called Minnesota.

NORTHFIELD, MN – On Thursday evening, a dozen water protectors with Northfield Against Line 3 and St. Olaf college’s Climate Justice Collective protested at the house of John Tuma, a commissioner on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Water protectors protested the PUC’s June 2018 decision to grant the certificate of need to Enbridge for their proposed Line 3 project, and pressured Tuma to deny construction permits to Enbridge Line 3.

Enbridge, a multinational oil corporation, is currently developing the Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Canada and the U.S. The proposed pipeline crosses Indigenous territories, violating Indigenous sovereignty and treaties between Indigenous nations and the U.S. federal government. The pipeline will facilitate increased production of oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada. Oil produced from tar sands is the most pollutive fossil fuel production process, and directly contributes to global warming. The construction of Line 3 threatens large swathes of forest in northern Minnesota, and the threat of a spill will cause irreparable environmental damage.

In June, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the PUC’s approval of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement. The PUC will now review the amended statement and decide whether to issue the necessary permits for construction to proceed.

Water protectors staged a “funeral for the earth,” directly drawing attention to the role of John Tuma in the PUC’s June 2018 decision to approve the construction of Line 3 in Minnesota. Water protectors had organized a similar protest with Northfield Against Line 3 on October 4, 2018 to shame Tuma. On Thursday, protestors pressured Tuma to reject the amended statement and deny Enbridge the necessary permits to construct Line 3.

Jonathan Chen, a protestor at the action, said that “It’s individuals such as Tuma who staff the regulatory boards in Minnesota. Tuma is one of the people who can decide the fate of our planet. He with others last year decided to permit the continued destruction of our planet through burning tar sands oil. That is what brings us here outside his house to hold him accountable, and for him to correct his past mistake.”

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