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Line 3 Pipeline Abandonment and How It Affects Us

Panel member and Line 3 Community expert Marty Cobinais speaks to a full room of people during the public Line 3 Pipeline Abandonment meeting. Photo by Ellen Lescarbeau.

By Shelana Ysen

Dozens gathered in Hagg Sauer 112 at BSU Thursday night as area residents received information, voice their concerns and learn to take action on Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline abandonment.

The pipeline, which was constructed in 1961, runs from Alberta to Wisconsin and spans nearly 300 miles through northern Minnesota crossing three of the state’s largest Indian reservation treaty areas. Due to

Bali Frazer wears a sweatshirt voicing her opinion at the Line 3 pipeline abandonment meeting at BSU. Photo by Ellen Lescarbeau.

many abnormalities in the pipeline, Enbridge is forced to do something about it. Rather than fixing or removing it, they plan to abandon the pipeline and build a new one on a different path.

Since the state has no guidelines for crude oil pipeline abandonment, Enbridge is not required to remove the pipeline nor restore damaged ecosystems it may cause. Sinkholes and major leaks have been known to develop from abandoned pipelines in the past.

The overall goal of Thursday’s event was to create a plan of action to encourage the state to take action on requiring Enbridge to be held responsible for their pipeline abandonment and any contamination it may cause such as chemical leaks from the line, contamination from lubricants or treatment of chemicals in the pipeline.

“Line 3 is different because this time it’s our backyard and not our neighbor’s backyard,” said Jordan Morgan, a BSU graduate and panel member.

There are many downfalls to abandoning Line 3. The former pipes will corrode allowing water to make its way into the pipe leading to unnatural drainage in areas such as sloughs, muskegs and marshes. If this were to occur, it would affect the natural balance of the ecosystem and risk contamination of soil and water.

“It’s not even just about Native Americans anymore, everybody drinks water,” said Morgan.

Citizens are highly encouraged to take action and get involved by contacting tribal leaders, state officials, and county commissioners. For more information and resources to take action visit www.honorearth.org.