20 Citizens and Tribal Members to Intervene Against Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Project

Photo by Mary Goldsberry-Troyer

St. Paul, MN — On May 11th, 2017, 20 citizens and tribal members announced that they are filing legal intervention paperwork to oppose the Line 3 Replacement pipeline, a proposed Enbridge tar sands oil project which would carry 760,000 barrels per day of the world’s dirtiest oil through the Mississippi headwaters. The diverse group of intervenors shares a common goal: protecting Minnesota’s water, climate, and communities from the threat posed by this oil expansion project.

The Line 3 Replacement proposal is currently under consideration at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission through what is called a contested case hearing process, presided over by an administrative law judge. It’s similar to a legal trial. The intervenors who announced their filings today are seeking to become parties to the case, with each showing different ways they will be directly impacted. They intend to represent themselves instead of hiring counsel, in order to bring the voices of impacted community members directly before state decision-makers.

“Line 3 is not for the public good — it’s for private profit,” said Mark Herwig, an avid outdoorsman who owns land on the proposed pipeline route in Carlton County. “This pipeline does not belong in the state’s sensitive headwaters area because it will leak, access for repairs will be difficult, and a spill can’t be cleaned up. A pipeline will ruin the award winning wildlife habitat work on my 44-acre dream hunting grounds. My wife and I have rejected Enbridge’s $20,000 easement offer, a low ball offer from a filthy rich foreign corporation that has no regard for private property rights, wildlife, our hunting heritage, or our collapsing climate.”

“I will not remain silent while the 1855 treaty territory is being threatened and our water is under attack,” said Mysti Babineau, a mother, Minnesota resident, and enrolled member of Red Lake Nation. “I fight for clean water for everyone’s future generations. I will fight this pipeline every step of the way. Nibi Bimaadiziwin!”

“Young people are going to be living with climate change and destabilization our entire lives — and we already are,” said Margaret Breen, a 19-year-old student at Macalester College in St. Paul. “I’m intervening as part of a group of 12 students and young people under the age of 25 who are going to be directly impacted based on the choices we make right now in Minnesota to build dirty energy or invest in clean alternatives.”

Other intervenors include former Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Regional Director Willis Mattison (Osage, MN), Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup leader John Munter (Warba, MN), and other young people and northern MN residents.

Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly will meet with all intervenors in St. Paul on May 15th (the deadline for intervenor filing), and likely decide that day whether to accept or reject these petitions for intervention. If accepted, intervenors will be representing themselves in this quasi-judicial process instead of hiring lawyers.

“I am filing for citizen intervention on the Line 3 proposal because of my concern over opening a new energy corridor, abandoning the existing line in place, and most importantly, my concern for the source waters of Northern Minnesota,” said James W. Reents, a resident of Hackensack, MN. “The environmental impact statement should address this, yet no one agency is completely charged with protecting our public waters.  My hope is that I can have some impact as a citizen in that regard.”