Federal judge rules in favor of continued construction of Line 3—a 330-mile pipeline carrying tar sands oil

“But we will continue to press our case that the Army Corps violated the law and failed to fulfill its responsibilities in granting the permit.”

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Image Credit: Stop Line 3

Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company, who already began construction on Line 3, a pipeline that will transport 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, will be able to continue the project after a federal judge passed down a favorable ruling. The proposed 330-mile pipeline, which runs through untouched wetlands and Indigenous communities, was being contested by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental organization.

Earthjustice “filed a motion” on behalf of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Honor the Earth, and the Sierra Club “for a preliminary injunction at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to halt construction and prevent environmental damage until the court reviews the claims in its case,” according to a press release. But a federal judge ruled against Earthjustice’s injunction allowing the continued construction of Line 3.

“We’re disappointed with the court’s decision,” Moneen Nasmith, attorney for Earthjustice, said. “But we will continue to press our case that the Army Corps violated the law and failed to fulfill its responsibilities in granting the permit.”  

According to Earthjustice and indigenous groups, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers illegally approved a water permit in December that allowed Enbridge to start construction, but “failed to fulfill its duty to evaluate the risks of oil spills and their effects on tribes and tribal resources, as well as other devastating impacts the pipeline would have on waters and wetlands in Minnesota.

“The Army Corps recklessly ignored the harm that this dangerous pipeline will cause to water, species and ecosystems, and it failed to consider how that harm will affect Tribal citizens who rely on subsistence fishing, hunting and gathering,” Nasmith said. “The Biden Administration has pledged to address environmental racism, but actions speak louder than words.”

Indigenous groups vow to keep fighting against Line 3 and are determined to stop Enbridge “from destroying the water and wetlands we have used and depended on since time immemorial,” Darrell G. Seki, Sr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, said.

“For us, water is life. Our water and wetlands provide the ability to fish, hunt and harvest wild rice,” Mike Fairbanks, chairman of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, said. “We have worked to protect the water for hundreds of years, and we will continue to do this work, despite the court’s decision.” 

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