Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Line 3 Sparks Conversations on Faith, Fairness in Climate Fight

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Thursday, September 30, 2021   

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Oil will soon be flowing through the Line 3 pipeline replacement for northern Minnesota.

Supporters are applauding completion, but opponents continue to speak out, including in the faith community.

Canada-based Enbridge Energy said Line 3 begins operating this Friday, as tribal leaders and environmental groups pledge to keep fighting it.

Julia Nerbonne, executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, noted projects like these threaten the fabric of a fair and just society, and said a corporation will benefit from the profits, but Minnesotans will be harmed by emissions.

"The climate crisis is just an extension of the sort-of root problems that we have in our society," Nerbonne asserted. "It's a manifestation of greed."

Opponents say Line 3 also threatens the treaty rights of tribal nations for gathering wild rice. Enbridge said the line was built with state-of-the-art, thicker-walled pipe to help ensure safe transport of crude oil. Union leaders in northern Minnesota also noted the construction brought some badly needed jobs to the region.

Nerbonne countered those jobs were only temporary, and argued clean energy represents a more viable way for local economies to thrive. She acknowledged these are difficult conversations for the communities near Line 3, including within congregations.

"Many people who work for Enbridge are seated in those pews," Nerbonne pointed out. "They want to have, you know, a sustainable economy in the Northland. We want that, too."

She added conversations to bring these perspectives together are vital in the debate over the impact of fossil fuels.

The Indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth said while it still plans to pursue ways to block Line 3, it is thankful for the "water protectors" who protested along the construction route this past summer.


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