Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds Line 3 permit allowing construction to continue

Image Credit: Stop Line 3

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the Public Utilities Commission’s 2020 approval of the Line 3 pipeline. The Sierra Club, along with several other environmental groups filed an appeal that challenged the pipeline’s permit issued by the PUC.

The ruling comes after a series of protests led by thousands of Indigenous water protectors gathered along the pipeline route to try and block construction and urge federal lawmakers revoke Enbridge’s Line 3 permit, while Anishinaabe band members camped out on the Mississippi headwaters exercising their treaty rights.

“Today’s decision is deeply disappointing and paves the way for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to continue to disregard the health of our communities, water, and climate as well as the ways of life and treaty rights of Ojibwe people,” Margaret Levin, state director of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, said.

Line 3 opponents “argued that the PUC failed to demonstrate demand for the tar sands oil that Line 3 would transport across more than 200 bodies of water, including lakes, wetlands, and rivers, posing serious risks to Minnesota’s freshwater resources and the lake country of northern Minnesota where the Ojibwe people harvest wild rice and hold treaty rights,” according to a press release. Tar sands extraction “emits up to three times more global warming pollution than does producing the same quantity of conventional crude,” the NRDC said.

“The Line 3 project is a clear violation of Indigenous rights and the rights of the seventh generation to a habitable planet,” Tara Houska, Giniw Collective, said. “Line 3 is an abomination to climate science and human rights. Our resistance is obviously growing as shown by the last week of mass action—we cannot stop and we will not stop.”

While Judge Peter Reyes issued a dissenting opinion, which said PCU “committed legal errors and acted arbitrarily or capriciously by granting [Enbridge] a certificate of need that is unsupported by substantial evidence,” opponents of the pipeline look to President Biden to revoke Line 3’s permit once and for all.

“Construction on Line 3 is underway—all eyes now turn to the Biden administration to live up to their commitments to climate action and Indigenous rights by stopping Line 3,” Levin said.


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