Pipeline Remains On Hold But Not Protesters
Construction on replacing Enbridge 3 with a far superior pipeline hasn’t even gotten underway yet in Minnesota. In fact, the project hasn’t even received regulatory approval from the state yet, thanks to stalling by the Dayton administration.
But the Duluth News Tribune reports that hasn’t stopped pipeline protesters from getting a head-start on their job anyway.
Three Duluth residents were cited for trespassing on Friday after occupying Enbridge’s downtown office to demand that the company abandon its Line 3 replacement project.
Donna Howard, Mark Daniel Hakes and Michele Naar-Obed delivered a letter to Paul Eberth, director for the project intended to replace the existing pipeline crossing northern Minnesota from Alberta to Superior. They then refused to leave for almost two hours.
The handful of activists were savvy enough not to stage their faux protest outside in the elements, now that winter’s here. Perhaps they learned the hard way at the failed Dakota Access Pipeline protests last winter.
Howard, Hakes and Naar-Obed arrived at the office shortly after noon. They left at 2 p.m. after a lengthy conference with Duluth police officers. They were backed by about 15 other people who met at the Central Hillside Community Center, fueled themselves with Little Caesars Pizza, then walked the three blocks to the Wieland Block, where they occupied the hallway outside the Enbridge offices. A security guard stood at the door, refusing to allow them to join Howard, Hakes and Naar-Obed inside. Seven Duluth police officers arrived a half-hour later, several stoically standing guard as protesters chanted, filmed video and occasionally knocked on office doors asking to see Eberth. Some looked through a glass window, partially covered with paper, as their colleagues met with other police officers in a conference room.
The enviros failed to achieve either of their objectives, namely provoking police into arresting them or convincing Enbridge to meet their demands. So what’s the point?
Enbridge did not agree to the demands, and the three were not arrested. But in an email, Naar-Obed said she was satisfied with the results.
“We decided to not force them to carry us out,” she wrote. “We would get the citation there or at the precinct. It would be the same essentially. The charge would increase if we resisted or fought them, and we didn’t see the point in that. We will do what we can in the courtroom.”
Naar-Obed called it “just the beginning of a long fight.”
The protesters will be back, as long as the media continues to show up and provide coverage of their antics.