WASHINGTON – As most presidential campaigns continue to avoid offering specific and bold proposals to protect our climate, a coalition of national and state environmental groups today launched a grassroots campaign to pressure candidates directly to speak out against the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline in Northern Minnesota.
“If you are running for president of the United States, you need to be at the table,” said Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, a Native environmental advocacy organization and one of the campaign organizers. “That means candidates running for president of the United States, you need to stand up and oppose climate change. You need to stand up and oppose Line 3.”
Canadian oil giant Enbridge Energy has proposed a massive expansion and rerouting of the current Line 3 pipeline from Canada’s tar sands region to Superior, Wis. The new pipeline would carry tar sands crude over 200 bodies of water and would contribute carbon pollution equivalent to 50 coal plants.
“We expect clear leadership from those who say they’re ready to be president,” said Andy Pearson of MN350 Action, another campaign sponsor. “And clear leadership means calling out the incompatibility of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and fighting the climate crisis. It means promising to put our communities ahead of Big Oil’s profits.”
Among presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced in January 2019 that he opposes Line 3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren followed with a public statement in August. Also in August, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota returned a campaign contribution from an Enbridge employee. But Klobuchar has not spoken out against Line 3, and the rest of the Democratic field has been silent.
“We call on Sen. Klobuchar and the rest of the candidates to join Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders in opposing Line 3, a project that would be disastrous for the climate and for Indigenous communities,” Pearson said. “We need you to speak out now.”
MN350 Action is affiliated with the national advocacy group 350 Action.
“As we enter the climate decade, real leaders need to stand with Indigenous peoples and communities over fossil fuel billionaires,” said John Qua, 350 Action spokesperson. “We stand in solidarity with Minnesotans and people across America demanding all candidates for this country’s top office oppose the toxic and unnecessary Line 3 pipeline and fight for a world that puts our health and safety first.”
Another campaign sponsor, Oil Change U.S., worked with Bold Nebraska and community partners to successfully lobby 10 Democratic presidential candidates to commit to stopping the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would pass through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Pete Buttigieg all signed that pledge while Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick and Joe Biden did not.
“Our request for candidates on Line 3 is simple: Stand with Indigenous communities and oppose this climate-wrecking disaster of a pipeline,” said Collin Rees of Oil Change U.S. “We know that existing fossil fuel infrastructure is enough to doom the world to climate crisis. The last thing we need is another massive pipeline. It’s time for all candidates who want to be climate leaders to publicly oppose Line 3, acknowledge the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and get serious about investing in a just transition that leaves no one behind.”
Honor the Earth and MN350 Action were two of several organizers of September’s Gichi-gami Gathering to Stop Line 3, which attracted 1,200 pipeline opponents to the shores of Lake Superior.
“For the past seven years, we have been fighting a pipeline—760,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil that no one needs,” LaDuke said. “We don’t need it added to our atmosphere, and we don’t need it across our pristine lake country.”