Representative Ilhan Omar (D-05-MN) wrote a letter to the Biden administration asking for “urgent intervention” regarding the Line 3 pipeline that has been under construction for months. Omar says there have been “concerning violations of treaty rights” in recent weeks.
In Minnesota, we’re making our voices loud and clear: Protect Indigenous sovereignty.
Today, I led a letter to President Biden to call for urgent intervention amidst the Line 3 pipeline construction. pic.twitter.com/QJwYyyOowo
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 30, 2021
Omar’s letter went on to blame the severe drought that much of Minnesota has been facing and the recent uptick in wildfires on climate change and pipelines like Line 3.
She wrote, “When such massive environmental changes during construction are weighed alongside the long-term impacts of climate change driven by ongoing Line 3-related emissions…we are not upholding our obligations under treaties to preserve ecosystems that are economically and culturally vital to Indigenous nations.”
Omar also called arrests of Line 3 protesters or water protectors “clear violations of Tribal rights.” She went on to discuss the actions of law enforcement and state agencies, expressing her disagreement with their decisions regarding arresting protesters, law enforcement increasing patrols of pipeline areas, and surveillance of protesters.
Omar called local Indigenous tribes “sovereign Tribal nations,” and went on to say that there should be “ongoing consultation” and “consent” from “all Tribes in Minnesota” regarding the installation of Line 3. She said she believes the federal government has a “responsibility” to make sure that treaties are upheld and “engage with Tribal nations on a government-to-government level.”
According to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission website:
The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project is described as an integrity and maintenance driven project that would involve the construction of 330 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline to replace 282 miles of the existing 34-inch Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. The new Line 3 would be capable of delivering all grades of crude oil and is generally expected to serve the same markets and transport the same product mix as the existing Line 3. Once the new Line 3 pipeline has been installed, tested, and is operational, the existing Line 3 pipeline would be permanently deactivated in adherence with federal regulations.
Line 3 has been an object of criticism from environmentalists for years, and protests have heated up as the project reaches its closure. Last week, as reported by The Minnesota Sun, 69 protesters were arrested outside the Governor’s Mansion after an unlawful assembly was declared and protesters refused to leave.
According to the Stop Line 3 website, “Line 3 isn’t about safe transportation of a necessary product, it’s about expansion of a dying tar sands industry. Line 3 would contribute more to climate change than Minnesota’s entire economy.” They have been protesting the renovation of the pipeline for both environmental reasons and for justice, claiming that “Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and nations in its path.”
Omar’s letter asks for a response from the Biden administration but as of Tuesday afternoon, none has been issued.
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