DALE THORSON SAYS ITS BEYOND TIME TO STOP STRETCHING LIMITED PUBLIC SAFETY RESOURCES BY TRYING TO STOP A PROJECT THAT IS NEARLY COMPLETE
(BAGLEY, MINN) After more demonstrations this week including an event where 23 people from outside Minnesota were arrested in Clearbrook, a retired Minnesota State Patrol Trooper today called on groups against the Line 3 Replacement project to stop organizing protests. State and local law enforcement agencies continue to face challenges created by organized protests that involve vandalism, threatening behavior, as well as people locking themselves to equipment, buildings, or other structures. Crews are often forced to spend hours of time cutting protestor free before they can be arrested, taking time away from other important duties.
“The amazing people who serve us through their public safety work already take risks each day and should not be forced to continue to deal with the dangerous antics from people protesting a project that is just about done,” said Retired State Patrol Lt. Dale Thorson. “What is even harder to understand is that the intensity of these protests seems to have increased as end of construction gets closer. There have already been situations where first responders were not able to respond to calls for help from the public because they were dealing with protests. That needs to stop and it’s beyond time for groups funding and organizing protests to stop before something tragic happens.”
This week more than 80 people tried to block access to an Enbridge facility in Clearbrook, Minnesota by using 55-gallon barrels filled with concrete, an overturned car, a boat, and tripods with people attached to them. The Clearwater County Sheriff’s office was forced to call in mutual-aid support and it took crews more than 7 hours to cut free protestors from the “sleeping dragon” devices. 23 people were arrested from Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, South Dakota, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C.
This follows other protests that included a violent protest outside of the Minnesota Governor’s Residence in St. Paul and another demonstration at the Minnesota State Capitol that resulted in 75 people being arrested. All but 14 of the people detained were from outside Minnesota. Previous protests have shut down access to a key part of Duluth and forced paramedic units from other communities to spend many hours at protest locations across Northern Minnesota.
After six years of review, construction work on the Line 3 Replacement project is now more than 90 percent complete. There are no more remaining legal challenges to the project in state courts. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently rejected a remaining challenge to a state permit. Construction work started last December, and the replaced Line 3 is expected to be placed into service later this year.
“I understand people disagree with the decision to allow the project to go forward but that does not justify or condone the ongoing violent and disrespectful behavior by people who continue to come here to try to get arrested,” Thorson said. “We have amazing people who dedicate themselves to being there when we need help. We should not be forcing them to deal with protestors, especially since this project is just about done.”
The decision to replace Line 3 was made by the Obama Administration. To complete the project, Enbridge has invested more than $2 billion, employed more than 5,000 people, and created an important economic impact to help the region recover from the COVID-economic challenges.
The Biden Administration recently filed its support of federal permits for the project as part of legal proceedings. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently reaffirmed his support for the project via an editorial in the Duluth News Tribune.
Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617