338-mile Long Oil Pipeline Threatens U.S. Waters

Selena Martinez

Snaking its way from Canada to Wisconsin, Line 3, an oil pipeline, is projected to carry 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil each day, the dirtiest of oil, through vital water sources.

According to the Sierra Club, the pipeline was built by the Emridge company in the 1960s. In 2010, Line 3 was already responsible for the largest in-land oil spill in U.S history, the Kalamazzo River Disaster. 

“1 million gallons of diluted bitumen–“dilbit”–a heavy, thick crude oil that’s hard to pump without diluting it with hydrocarbons, flowed into Talmadge Creek, near Marshall, and the Kalamazoo River past Galesburg, 35 miles downstream.” according to the Sierra Club.

Stop Line 3’s Map

The oil poisned the water and air as many families and businesses were forced to evacuate, around 150 families were permanently dislocated. 

However, this infamous pipe has had over 2 dozen oil spills during its time, with one was in a river, 13 were in wetlands and 14 were on land, according to the MPCA, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The solution for this faulty pipe? Expanding it, making it wider for more oil. And changing its path, a path violating Native lands and waters of the Anishinaabe and Ojibwe. 

According to EarthRights, an activist group, “the U.S. government signed several treaties requiring the bands to cede land to the U.S. government, under the agreement that tribal members would still be guaranteed the rights to hunt, fish, gather plants, harvest and cultivate wild rice, and preserve sacred or culturally significant sites. This right is upheld by the U.S. Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court.”

Line 3 would directly destroy Native resources such as wild rice beds and clean water. The construction’s path violates the Supreme Law on the land, Line 3 is unconstitutional.

According to the Stop Line 3 Organization, “The pipeline would cross 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River twice.” 

Water protectors, including Native and non-Natives, are protesting the completion of the pipeline for this very reason. Many have been arrested trying to protect these sacred lands.

More than 50 cities rely on the Mississippi River for daily water supply, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service.

Oil spills will poison water for humans and animals that rely upon it. This includes farmers who use water to support their crops.

Nonetheless, the carbon footprint will be the equivalent of 50 coal plants, according to MN350, a Minnesota-based environmental activist group. 

Line 3 is almost complete – To petition Line 3 visit https://www.stopline3.org/take-action 

Curious about Line 3 and want to learn more? Click here to learn more

“We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when…” – Catherine Collentine, an associate director with the Sierra Club.

Categories: Environment, Features, science

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