Oil Pipelines have shaped the frontlines of a number of crucial climate and justice struggles in the United States in the past half-decade. The amazing movement in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that has captured headlines worldwide is the most recent escalation in this ongoing effort to protect local environments and interrupt the flows of oil that both feed and drive the dangers of the fossil fuel economy.
Here in Minnesota we have been taking on Canadian company Enbridge Inc., the biggest oil transport company in North America. Local movements, tribal resisters, and MN350 have already put Enbridge on their heels, registering a huge victory by stopping the Sandpiper Pipeline in 2016 (with gratitude to our friends at Friends of the Headwaters who won a crucial court victory), but Enbridge is a corporate giant intent on pushing through seriously risky, carbon-combusting plans for lake country. Join us in the movement to draw the line over pipelines, to protect Minnesota, and to keep it in the ground.
The Pipeline Problem
Many of us remember the powerful movement against Keystone XL, TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline that the climate movement and many allies convinced President Obama to refuse. That was a key victory in the battle to protect both local environments and the climate (a victory we are going to have to fight to keep again now, see our Regional Solidarity page). But why are pipelines frontlines? Pipelines are major strategic infrastructures for Big Oil. It’s “cheaper” for companies to use pipelines to transport oil from fields like the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota, or the exceptionally dirty and carbon intensive Alberta Tar Sands, to refineries and to market. This makes them a crucial strategic point of intervention into the fossil fuel economy, one we have to disrupt if we are going to shift our energy grids and keep atmospheric CO2 at safe levels. For us – for anyone but the companies – pipelines are not cheap, they are incredibly expensive: they facilitate the very economy costing us the air we breath, the water we drink, the integrity of the lands and habitats where we live, and the delicate balance of the climate.
Pipelines are also extremely risky projects for the environments they pass through. The industry tries to tell us they are safe, but we know that it’s not a question of whether a pipeline leaks, it’s a question of when it leaks. Pipelines are not a safe alternative to oil-by-rail transport (see our Pipeline FAQs page). And Enbridge has a particularly dirty history. In 2010, Enbridge was responsible for the largest inland oil spill in US history, dumping 1 million gallons into a tributary of the Kalamazoo river in a stark display of industrial negligence.
When Big Oil first started using pipelines, the industry loved how these infrastructures allowed them to hide oil transport, to make invisible the politics of a process that affects the environment and the people who live and make a living in it – just by slipping it underground. Resisting oil pipelines is about strategically unearthing the power to protect the spaces where we live, and the power to make decisions about the energy sources on which our societies depend.
Check out the pages below for more information on pipelines and resistance efforts in Minnesota:
[These pages are under still construction, but will be live in the coming days. Stay tuned!]
- Regional Solidarity: Keystone XL and #NoDAPL
- When Resisters Win: the Sandpiper Pipeline
- Alphabet Soup: Learning Pipeline Regulating Bodies in Minnesota
- Pipeline FAQ’s
- Pipeline Timelines: What’s Coming in 2017
Watch Highlights from our Pipeline Resistance Campaign: