As the heat built to an uncomfortable peak earlier this afternoon, a group of about fifty people rallied outside the state capitol building to protest Enbridge, a Canadian energy infrastructure corporation, and its Line 3 oil pipeline project.
Tim Cordon is an organizer with Building Unity, a social justice organization. He says Madison’s demonstrators will be joining a caravan on its way to St. Paul, where protesters from across Wisconsin plan to join the final stretch of a mass action.
“Since August 7th, a group of people have been walking for the water, from the White Earth Nation, where the pipeline crosses their territory. That walk has gone over 250 miles. And that’s why we’re going to St. Paul today to join them for their last mile and a half,” Cordon told protesters.
Tribal rights groups and environmentalists argue that Enbridge trampled tribal rights and lands during the construction of the Line 3 pipeline. Enbridge says that replacing its current Line 3 — which is more than fifty years old — is essential for bringing oil into the U.S.
Pressure has been mounting for Enbridge to drop the project — which Minnesota Public Radio reports is nearly ninety percent complete. Demonstrations have, at times, turned violent, as protesters clash with authorities.
Jill Ferguson says she’s been arrested at the demonstrations three separate times. Speaking at today’s action, Ferguson criticized Governor Tony Evers for his approval of a 2019 bill that made it a felony to trespass on oil pipelines.
Portions of Line 3 run through northwestern Wisconsin, as do parts of Enbridge’s oil Pipeline 5.
“If you were to step on Enbridge’s territory, you would be a felon,” Ferguson said. “Right now, I would have six felony counts on me for doing what I did in Minnesota. That’s not okay, that’s opening the door to felonize any type of protesting.”
Mother Jones reports that a coalition of Democratic U.S. Lawmakers are pushing President Joe Biden to suspend permits for Line 3 until further environmental impact reviews can be conducted.
Photo by Jonah Chester