The Potluck

20 arrested at Line 3 pipeline protest near Cloquet

By: - August 20, 2021 4:29 pm

Opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline protested at a pump station near Cloquet on Aug. 20, 2021. Participants were encouraged to wear drag in support of Two-Spirit and LGBTQ members of the anti-Line 3 movement. Photo by Rilyn Eischens/Minnesota Reformer.

More than 20 people were arrested during a protest of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline at a pump station outside Cloquet Friday afternoon.

The protest and arrests come as Enbridge’s 337-mile pipeline is more than 90% complete and scheduled to carry oil by the end of the year, the company says. But opponents say the fight isn’t over.

“I’m here, even though it’s almost done. I’m here because it’s almost done. It just makes me want to fight harder,” said Leo, who was locked into a barricade in the pump station entrance Friday and declined to give his surname.

Before 7 a.m. Friday, more than 60 pipeline opponents arrived at the pump station — a large area with equipment that keeps oil flowing through the pipe. No workers were visible on site as protesters willing to risk arrest gathered inside the station, while others grouped on the road and near the entrances.

Officers from several agencies, including the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol, began arresting people who had formed a human chain at the pump station entrance around 11 a.m.

Tania Aubid, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and leader of the Line 3 opposition efforts, was among those arrested. Earlier in the afternoon, she addressed the group, criticizing President Joe Biden’s inaction on the pipeline. Opponents had been hopeful Biden would cancel the project, but his administration signaled support for the project in court filings earlier this summer.

“This is a call of distress, and Biden, you should know that,” Aubid said. “We are not going to take it no longer.”

Despite the arrests and looming project completion date, portions of the protest Friday had more levity than many this summer. Taysha Martineau, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and founder of pipeline opposition Camp Migizi, encouraged participants to wear drag to show support for two-spirit and LGBTQ members of the anti-Line 3 movement. Pipeline opponents turned out in dresses, Daisy Dukes, flannels and tiaras.

“We just figured, since we’ve made such a safe place at camp for people to express themselves, that we would bring all that good energy to the frontline,” Martineau said.j

Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Keliner said protests “have had relatively little impact on the project’s construction schedule” and that they “hoped all parties would come to accept the outcome of the thorough, science-based review and multiple approvals of the project.”

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.