Climate activists are continuing to pressure Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) against approving Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement pipeline, and on Thursday protested in the governor’s reception room of the Minnesota State Capitol.
In November, the Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted in favor of green lighting the project, but former Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D-MN) Department of Commerce filed a last minute lawsuit to prevent the project from moving forward.
Since his inauguration, activists have been following Walz everywhere he goes, and disrupted both his inaugural reception at the State Capitol and inaugural ball a few days later. A group called Science for the People joined the fight Thursday, and told Walz during a protest that allowing the project to move forward would be the equivalent of “climate change denial.”
“If Gov. Walz truly wants to consult the science, we, as scientists, unequivocally state that forwarding fossil fuels infrastructure will have disastrous implications for Minnesota’s ecosystems, agriculture and economy,” Science for the People said in a statement before its Thursday protest. “Building Line 3 is climate change denial.”
Christy Dolph, a University of Minnesota professor, encouraged her fellow scientists Thursday to “prevent ‘science’ from being used as cover for cowardly political decisions.”
“We also must not use science to ignore the sovereignty or the rights of indigenous peoples in this territory,” she said. “Through cycles of racism and injustice, the impacts of climate change and environmental devastation will disproportionately affect marginalized communities. The work of scientists on climate change and fossil fuel infrastructure reinforces the concerns already express by frontline communities.”
Several Minnesota professors joined the protest Thursday, and video of the demonstration shows activists holding signs stating that “oil pipelines are science denial,” and “honor the treaties.”
Walz has not yet addressed Thursday’s protest, since he and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (D-MN) were instead attending a discussion with those affected by the government shutdown. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) released a statement urging Walz to “trust the process and respect the work the [Public Utilities Commission] has done, and not interfere or throw up unnecessary roadblocks for this critical project.”
“The science behind Line 3 is crystal clear; we have an aging pipeline that is in desperate need of replacement, and pipelines are far and away the safest way to transport oil,” Daudt said. “If you care about science, and care about protecting our waters and natural resources, you should support the Line 3 replacement.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Tim Walz” by Tim Walz.
Background Photo “Science for the People Protesters” by Science for the People- Twin Cities.