Six protesters were arrested Tuesday morning at a construction site for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 replacement project south of Superior, on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Protesters streamed live video from the site for about an hour before they were arrested.
In one of the videos, streamed live on Facebook by 33-year-old Dallon Wayne White, two protesters are sitting on construction equipment that has being used to replace a 12.5-mile segment of Enbridge’s 1960s-era pipeline. One of them can be heard on the video speaking to a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
“We understand you guys are just doing your job, but we’re here in a peaceful, safe way to show you that this can’t go through,” said one of the protesters to the deputy.
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The deputy responded.
“I’m formally telling, you guys need to leave. You’re trespassing. You can’t be on the equipment,” the deputy said.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec said he warned the group on Monday to avoid trespassing on the site.
“Obviously, this morning they didn’t heed my warning or advice and they were subsequently arrested for trespassing, as well as I believe a couple of them had additional charges or disorderly conduct and/or resisting arrest,” Dalbec said Tuesday.
The incident is one of four in the last 10 days at the site, and the first incident in which several people were arrested.
Those who were arrested include:
- Alexander Emery Good-Cane-Milk, 23, of Nemo, South Dakota.
- Neville Light Robins, 25, of Cloquet, Minnesota.
- Dallon Wayne White, 33, of Cloquet, Minnesota.
- Leana Sherome Hosea, 38, of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Kyla L. Hassig, 25, of Cloquet, Minnesota.
- Brandy-Lee Maxie, 34, of Regina, Saskatchewan.
Three of the six are being held without bond.
Dalbec said he isn’t aware of any injuries from the incident. He said several deputies responded to the area Tuesday morning when protesters trespassed onto the site near County Highway W near Oliver. Dalbec said his patrol lieutenant informed him that at least one person had secured himself to construction equipment.
“There was a second person on that same heavy equipment, but at that time, we weren’t sure if they had secured themselves to it or not,” Dalbec said.
Tribal and environmental groups issued an appeal for donations on Tuesday to raise bail money for those who were arrested, some of whom were tribal members. Paul Demain, editor of News From Indian Country, said he received a call on Tuesday from someone looking for advice on legal representation for those who were arrested. He said environmental and tribal groups in Wisconsin and Minnesota are upset over the ongoing replacement project.
“There’s people who are keeping an eye on environmental issues regarding the construction of that line,” Demain said. “Number 2, Line 3 isn’t permitted in Minnesota. Enbridge already has its pipeline stacked onsite. They’re already constructing it, so they’re acting like Line 3 is going to go in no matter what.”
The Douglas County sheriff said he is tasked with ensuring the safety of workers, protesters and law enforcement on the site.
“The people that want to or plan to protest — by all means, protest,” he said. “But, let’s go about it in a civil, nonviolent, noncriminal way.”
Dalbec said one of his deputies is patrolling the area around the site to monitor activity there.
Becky Haase, senior community engagement advisor for Enbridge in Superior, said they want to make sure people are safe and avoiding potentially dangerous construction zones.
“We always recognize people’s right to protest and we want to encourage dialogue with the community to make sure people’s voices are getting heard,” she said. “What we don’t want and will not tolerate is a potentially dangerous situation for individuals and our construction workers.”
She also noted an environmental impact statement was completed for the project, which has received all necessary permits in Wisconsin. Despite temporary disruptions, Haase said the Wisconsin portion of the Line 3 replacement is on schedule. Construction on the 12.5-mile segment is expected to be completed by early winter.
Line 3 currently transports around 390,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to the Enbridge terminal in Superior. Enbridge is spending around $2.6 billion in the United States to replace the aging pipeline, but the overall project costs around $7.5 billion.
Construction is already underway in Canada and Wisconsin, but the company is still waiting for regulatory approval in Minnesota.
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