(BEMIDJI, MINN)           Minnesotans for Line 3 today commended Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for recent remarks he shared with the Duluth News Tribune that not only continue his support of the Line 3 project, but called out protestors who continue to try to stop the project.  The comments from Governor Walz were part of a July 19th editorial “Our View / Walz: ‘We are going to replace an aging pipeline.”

“As work continues and we can now see the finish line, it’s important to continue to hear such strong and important support from Governor Walz and why this project is so important,” said Mike Schoneberger, a member of Minnesotans for Line 3 Advisory Committee.  “There is obviously great change happening related to how we will manage and use energy in the future, but it remains incredibly important that we make the transition happen the right way.  Governor Walz’s message is clear: ‘I think I have a very progressive environmental record, but I’m also a realist, and we need to move oil, and we need to move it safely.’”

Walz’s remarks and the newspaper editorial come as work is about 70 percent complete, despite ongoing efforts by protestors to interfere with construction crews and equipment.  Crews are working on a number of horizontal drilling operations that are a key part of the project to safely make sure the pipeline does not directly impact rivers and other sensitive areas.  Other crews are working across the 14-county route to complete other tasks as the project remains on schedule to be completed later this year. 

At the same time, people continue to travel to Minnesota from around the country to take part in what are becoming increasingly more aggressive protests that are putting more demands on public safety agencies, often taking first responders away from their communities for hours at a time.  Groups of people continue to trespass on sites, vandalize equipment, and use complicated devices to lock themselves to machinery.  The protestors are being supported by other groups who help organize attacks and according to another recent report, bring large amounts of cash to bail out the protestors.  

“As much as Governor Walz’s support for the project is important, it is even more significant for him to send a clear message to people who are supporting, organizing, and endorsing violent efforts to try to stop this project which is an embarrassment to those they claim to represent,” Schoneberger said.  “We have rules, processes, and a legal system to review projects as important and complex like Line 3 which has passed every test and the Governor is right to affirm this as work continues.”

Donating money to these protest groups associates the donors with criminal activity.  “The hundreds of thousands of dollars donors give would be better spent on green infrastructure in tribal communities rather than lawyer fees,” Schoneberger said.  “The groups should be held to the promise of ‘Peaceful Protests’ where safety issues and arrests become unnecessary.”

In the article, Governor Walz addressed the challenges from the aggressive protests.  “We’re trying to do this the best we can.  There are going to be folks who are going to protest that, but we need to also say, ‘But you’re not going to disrupt what is a legal process.’ There’s a responsibility to create a safe space for legitimate First Amendment protest, whatever your issue is, to be able to protect those constitutional rights. But what I said is that right ends the minute you choose to destroy property and put someone at risk. … (We’re) trying to strike that balance.”

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Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617