We are facing a critical moment of extinction, staring at us straight on, with burning eyes that spell climate disaster. While global agencies like the International Energy Agency, a body created in 1974 specifically to ensure oil security, are calling for a phasing out of fossil fuels to transition to alternative energies; corporate oil can’t let go of their addiction, no matter how harmful it might seem to those around them. Countries continue as well their dependency on oil when the consequences—climate disasters, drought, failed crops, forest fires, pandemics, dwindling biodiversity—are much more costly than whatever earnings fossil fuels might bring.
Canada’s tar sand oils in Alberta is one of such extractive projects, dubbed “the most destructive oil operation” by National Geographic, the industry is losing more money each year, as investors leave the industry behind. Tar sands pipelines cross the Northern Hemisphere, through pristine landscapes, threatening water sources, and the way of life of indigenous people and everyone on this planet. According to a Scientific American article, tar sands oil has greenhouse gas emissions greater than New Zealand and Kenya—combined, producing 14 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil. It has done so but not without resistance.
In 2016, indigenous leaders across the border between the US and Canada signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion “to officially prohibit and to agree to collectively challenge and resist the use of our respective territories and coasts in connection with the expansion of the production of the Alberta Tar Sands.” Since then, thanks to the activism of thousands of indigenous and non-indigenous environmentalists, two prospect oil pipelines, the Northern Gateway and Energy East, have been cancelled, followed by the Keystone XL Pipeline extension, Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline easement was recently revoked, and activists are working to shut down Enbridge Line 3.
Treaty People Gathering Against Line 3
In the state of Minnesota, Native women have been leading the fight against Enbridge Line 3 for the last several years. During a call on May 18, Dawn Goodwin from RISE, Tara Houska from the Giniw Collective, Winona LaDuke from Honor the Earth, and Taysha Martineau from Camp Migizi, talked about the ongoing fight against the Line 3 expansion and invited activists to join the Treaty People Gathering between June 5-8 in Northern Minnesota.
The Line 3 pipeline construction has been touted by Enbridge as a replacement pipeline project, but its own documentation shows that one of their main goals is to increase flow capacity from 390,000 to 760,000 barrels per day. The new pipeline would crisscross 227 lakes and rivers through 300,000 miles, including the Mississippi River. Winona LaDuke says Line 3 violates Ojibwe people’s rights to hunt, fish and gather they retained under treaties signed with the US government.
“The climate crisis negates our treaties because it places our ways of life at risk,” said Dawn Goodwin. Tara Houska echoed the sentiment placing it at the level of cultural genocide. LaDuke explained that for the past seven years they have taken every legal measure possible, taken multiple actions, and faced over 200 arrests to try to stop Line 3 construction but more pressure is needed. That’s why they are calling all environmental allies to join them in Minnesota June 5-8 for a set of collective actions.
Unlike Standing Rock, organizers of the Treaty People Gathering are not planning to hold just one camp to resist the pipeline but 22 different camps to protect 22 rivers.
“We are asking you to stand here with us and for those to come,” Houska said, who was herself detained with fellow activists in late March for resisting the pipeline construction.
Taysha Martineau, overseeing Camp Migizi to resist the pipeline section being built on Fond Du Lac Reservation, reminded folks that extractive projects in indigenous communities always bring violence against women, who already suffer sexual violence and murder at alarming rates. “There is a 22% increase in these statistics when pipelines are built in our communities. People should not be living in fear on our lands,” she said.
“Line 3 would have the climate impact of 50 new coal-fired power plants—operating at full steam for decades. We must resist. Join us in northern MN,” stated folks from Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light in a tweet. They are one of the 45+ organizations who are joining this effort and hope to pressure President Biden use his executive power to shut down Line 3, once and for all.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
– Stop Line 3 campaign has been doing weekly updates of the actions against tar sands oils
– Treaty People Gathering
– Visit the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust initiative to learn about tar sands resistance in Western Canada
– The Dilbit Disaster, detailing the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010
– 50+ First Nations Sign Treaty to Unify Fight Against Tar Sands, Colorlines