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Line 3 Emerges as Issue in Presidential Campaign

Web posted August 20, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday became the third presidential candidate to announce opposition to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Northern Minnesota.

“The Line 3 pipeline would threaten Minnesota’s public waters, lands, and agricultural areas important to several Tribal Nations,” Warren said in a Tweet. “I’m with @MN_350 and Minnesota organizers fighting to #StopLine3 and protect our  environment.”

Executive Director Kevin Whelan of MN350 and MN350 Action applauded Warren’s announcement. “With opposition now from three presidential candidates, and growing pressure on the rest of the field, Line 3 is emerging as a hot issue in the 2020 campaign," he said. “Line 3 has become politically toxic."

Warren on Monday will campaign at Macalester College in St. Paul, where environmental groups expect her to underscore her opposition to the Line 3 project. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont appeared in a January video with Honor the Earth to rally against Line 3. In July, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced his opposition. This month, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota returned $5,600 in campaign contributions from an Enbridge project manager.

"We’re grateful that Sen. Warren is joining the fight and recognizes what thousands of Minnesotans have been saying for years,” Whelan said. “In the midst of a climate crisis, it defies common sense to build a massive pipeline that’ll generate the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of carbon. We urge Sen. Klobuchar and the rest of the Democratic field to join Sen. Warren, Sen. Sanders and Gov. Inslee in supporting our communities rather than protecting corporate profits.”

The proposed new Line 3 would send millions of barrels of tar sands oil across the headwaters of the Mississippi River and tribal lands every year, endangering the world's water supply for just a few new permanent jobs, and at a time when most Americans favor a transition to clean and sustainable energy.

Former Vice President Al Gore also spoke out against Line 3 this month at a conference in Minneapolis. "I see it in the national context where the oil and gas industry is trying to quickly elaborate a huge expansion of their pipeline infrastructure before the cost reductions in solar and wind gets so far down that they won't be able to sell their gas and oil anymore," he told MinnPost. "So I think it’s a mistake to send good money after bad and continue building these pipelines."

MN350 Action volunteer Margaret Breen, a member of the Youth Climate Intervenors group that has gained national prominence, pointed to Line 3 as a litmus test for candidates. "The movement against Line 3 is much bigger than this specific project. It is about setting a new precedent for the energy infrastructure in this country. So a stance on Line 3 is more of a stance on whether candidates are ready to take the critical step away from fossil fuel infrastructure or whether they are still in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry."

Indigenous and environmental groups that favor discontinuing Line 3 include Honor the Earth, MN350, Northern Water Alliance, the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Youth Climate Intervenors, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Friends of the Headwaters, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Lake Superior Chippewa, Friends of the Climate, and Red Lake Band of Ojibwe.

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