Minnesota is known for being a very civically respectful community. How are actions by opponents to Line 3 fitting in with this tradition?
The Line 3 replacement, like many other complex issues, continues to generate strong, passionate opinions both in support and in opposition to the project. Throughout the process, Enbridge has worked hard to respectfully listen and work with communities along the route. The company has made adjustments to the plan whenever possible based on concerns that have been shared with the company. Enbridge’s efforts to work with the community and listen to concerns have included:
- Holding over 3,000 meetings with local officials, community leaders and other stakeholders since 2014.
- An approved route that reflects years of environmental and cultural studies plus extensive engagement efforts that have resulted in more than 50 route changes to the line.
- The largest cultural resource survey of its kinds along the route, in collaboration with tribes.
Tens of thousands of people have voiced their support for Line 3 in respectful ways, such as attending meetings, writing letters of support, signing petitions, and displaying lawn signs.
In contrast, how have the opponents to the Line 3 replacement acted?
While some have undoubtedly voiced their disagreement in a respectful manner, unfortunately others have resorted to rude, vulgar, militant, and damaging tactics.
Despite all of Enbridge’s efforts to engage in peaceful and respectful dialogue, opposition groups continue to attack Enbridge property and property that belongs to others who have no connection to the project. They have also unfortunately disrupted local communities, harmed other businesses, and forced law enforcement and others to spend time dealing with protests instead of serving the broader community.
These actions have gone beyond civil discourse and have included:
In addition to what they’ve already done, opponents have repeatedly threatened to bring to Minnesota the large-scale protests similar in nature to the recent Standing Rock protests in North Dakota. The people of North Dakota were left to deal with the aftermath which resulted in 48 million pounds of garbage and debris, along with $38 million in police and cleanup costs. On multiple occasions, Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth and prominent leader of opposition to Line 3, has threatened to lead and bring similar protests in Minnesota:
“Minnesota did not want Standing Rock, but this is their Standing Rock. They will have it,” she said. “They could have done the right thing, and they would not have this conflict. But be prepared, because we are preparing.” (Source)
“If that permit is issued, you can be sure you will have Standing Rock in Minnesota. I will tell you that,” “We’ve been very clear with the state representatives, and the governor of Minnesota, that if they approve this line, there will be tens of thousands of people in Minnesota.” (Source)
In a piece titled Committed to Our Communities: Enbridge’s Culture of Listening, Enbridge’s Vice President of Major Projects John Swanson describes the company’s position on addressing disagreement about the project:
“At Enbridge we also hear what people are saying, because we live here. Locally, Enbridge is a company made up of your neighbors, your friends, your relatives. We understand Minnesota’s culture of respectful discourse, honest conversation, and talking through areas where we don’t agree. That’s why we’ve made a point of engaging people, listening to their views, and respecting their concerns. This engagement has resulted in more than 50 modifications to our proposed route, and we want this dialogue to continue well into the future.”
It’s important that all Minnesotans work together to follow our laws and processes, and that arguments are made respectfully, rather than with yelling, disrespect, and destruction.