Protesters damaged the work site at a Minnesota pipeline project they want shut down, the company says

Protesters chained themselves to equipment and blocked entrances at the pipeline construction site, CNN affiliate KVRR reported. New sections of pipeline and added capacity are set to cut through some of the most pristine woods and wetlands in North America.

“There is absolutely no question that President (Joe) Biden can shut down the pipeline,” Fonda told the crowd. “There is no question.”

Permits for the work — in an area known as Line 3 — issued last fall by the US Army Corps of Engineers are the subject of ongoing litigation in state and federal courts, a White House official told CNN on Tuesday.

“The Biden administration is firmly committed to ensuring that under this administration, tribal consultation is robust and tribal concerns are heard,” the official said.

Protesters on Monday damaged the work site and prompted the evacuation of more than 40 employees, Enbridge Energy said.

“The destruction done today by protesters is disheartening. We respect everyone’s right to peacefully and lawfully protest, but trespass, intimidation, and destruction are unacceptable,” the Canadian company said in a news release. “44 workers were evacuated from the site, including ten employees of Native owned contractor Gordon Construction from the White Earth Reservation.”

There were about 200 arrests, activists from Treaty People Gathering tweeted, though the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately confirm the tally. Actress Taylor Schilling also was among those in the protest crowd.

“People here are going to bear the biggest front of this pipeline. This nation needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels. But more importantly, it needs to honor its agreements it made long ago with Indigenous people, and I am here to support that,” Schilling told KVRR.

Activists are walked through an Enbridge Line 3 pump station Monday after being arrested.

Enbridge is not like Keystone XL, company says

Enbridge’s multi-billion dollar project involves upgrading existing infrastructure on Line 3, the company has said. Overall, the pipeline dates to the 1960s and extends about 1,100 miles from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin.

Minnesota pipeline a step closer to being replaced. Native Americans and environmentalists are ready for a fight
“Line 3 is not like the Keystone XL pipeline,” Enbridge Chief Communications Officer Mike Fernandez told CNN in March, referring to a planned pipeline that Biden killed during his first hours in office.

The Enbridge pipeline “already exists. And it already is an energy lifeline for literally millions of people in the US and in Canada. And the reality is, even as we see great growth in renewables, we’re still going to need some fossil fuels 40 years to come.”

The Enbridge project workforce includes more than 500 Native workers, the company has said.

As spring thaws the Minnesota ice, a new pipeline battle fires up

“So far protests have had relatively little impact on construction which is on track across five different construction zones working simultaneously along more than 330 miles replacing Line 3 in northern Minnesota. The project is on schedule to be complete and in service in the fourth quarter of this year,” Enbridge said in its release.

Prior protests at the site led to more than 100 arrests, tribal attorney and activist Tara Houska told CNN in March.

“They seem to think that it’s going to deter us from protecting the land. They are fundamentally missing the point of what water protectors are doing, which is willing to put ourselves our freedom, our bodies, our personal comfort on the line for something greater than ourselves,” Houska said.

CNN’s Jeff Zeleny and Allison Malloy contributed to this story.

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