Rep. Ilhan Omar calls on Biden to Reject Line 3 Pipeline
MINNEAPOLIS—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) today led a letter to President Biden urging him to stop the construction of a massive fossil fuel infrastructure project: the Line 3 pipeline. The letter comes after Rep. Omar visited the site of the pipeline construction this weekend and met with the indigenous communities who would be directly impacted by it.
“Climate change does not stop at the border of a reservation or a state or a country,” Rep. Omar wrote. “The decision that U.S. entities make on Line 3 is a decision made for the entire world, and for all coming generations of humanity. I urge you to make the one decision supported by the scientific consensus on climate change: Stop Line 3.”
Line 3 is a proposed tar sands pipeline project that involves the deployment of 330 miles of new pipeline starting from Joliette, North Dakota to Clearbrook, Minnesota, ending in Superior, Wisconsin and is projected to add five times as much greenhouse gas annually as Minnesota transportation produced in total in 2016.
Enbridge has presided over some of the worst pipeline catastrophes in our nation’s history. They amassed over 800 spills between 1999 and 2010 alone, including the devastating Kalamazoo River disaster, the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. They’ve been sued by multiple states for failing to adequately inspect and operate their pipelines.
Using tar sands oil, which is 37% more carbon intensive than regular oil, its production is projected to have the equivalent carbon footprint of 16-18 million cars on the road every year of the pipeline’s operation.
The pipeline would violate the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe by endangering primary areas of hunting, fishing, wild rice, and cultural resources in the treaty territory established in 1855. The US Supreme Court has upheld the rights of native peoples to hunt, fish, and subsist off the land.
The full letter can be read here and below.
January 19, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden:
Earlier this month, I joined millions of Americans celebrating your announcement to withdraw permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. This bold and courageous decision is supported by the scientific consensus that we are running out of time to prevent catastrophic climate change. I ask that you extend this scrutiny to another massive fossil fuel infrastructure project that will have a comparable impact on our planet: the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline currently being constructed across Minnesota.
When I was sworn into Congress in 2019, one of the first actions I took as a Member of Congress was writing to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in opposition to the federal permits for Line 3. At the time, I discussed the project’s disproportionate impacts on indigenous communities, Enbridge’s abysmal safety and spill history in the U.S., and the scale of disturbances required to construct a pipeline of this scale in seasonal wetlands. Those concerns continue to be unaddressed in Enbridge’s plans for this pipeline.
But at its core, the debate about Line 3 is about one specific issue: climate change. Under even the best-case scenarios for climate change, we cannot afford to build more fossil fuel infrastructure. That is especially true for projects like Line 3, which are designed for the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive fossil fuel there is, tar sands crude oil. Climate change is not just a risk, but a risk multiplier – all of the other known and unknown impacts of Line 3 will be greatly exacerbated by climate change. Wetlands can’t heal if the climate changes precipitation and temperatures. Indigenous treaty rights are meaningless if the areas are too polluted or unstable to hunt or fish or gather wild rice. Yet these massive and permanent impacts to climate were not addressed in the environmental review of this project nor were the impacts on the Anishinaabe treaty rights to harvest wild rice.
Climate change does not stop at the border of a reservation or a state or a country. The decision that U.S. entities make on Line 3 is a decision made for the entire world, and for all coming generations of humanity. I urge you to make the one decision supported by the scientific consensus on climate change: Stop Line 3.
Member of Congress