Minnesota Sheriff Barricades Pipeline Resistance Camp's Driveway

Monday morning, a Minnesota sheriff's office prevented access to one of the protest encampments that were set up to oppose the Enbridge Line 3 oil sands pipeline. The Hubbard County Sheriffs Office sent a notice at 6 a.m. to pipeline supporters, who own the property. It stated that it would not allow vehicular traffic on the narrow strip of county-owned land in the area between the driveway, and the road. Witness said that Sheriffs arrived in trucks with building materials and brought along their vehicles.Tara Houska, Anishinaabe cofounder of the antipipeline Giniw Collective which organized the camp, gave me a notice informing me that the sheriff would be erecting a physical barrier across our driveway. He said that we don't have the right to access our private property via vehicle.Mara VerheydenHilliard, an attorney for pipeline opponents and director at the Partnership for Civil Justice Funds Center for Protest Law and Litigation, stated that this is nothing but an overt political blockade. This is an illegal and outrageous attempt to blockade people engaged in protected First Amendment activities and to punish them for their opposition of the Enbridge pipeline. Verheyden Hilliard was speaking about an Enbridge-funded account that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission set up to reimburse public safety agencies for Line 3 activity. Enbridge has so far repaid Hubbard County $2660 for riot helmets, chest protectors, and equipment to remove pipeline opponents from construction infrastructure. The Hubbard County Sheriffs Office didn't respond to a request for comment. Since the camp was opened, water protectors have used the trail without restrictions for approximately three years. Only after Line 3 construction was ramped-up and increased protests, was the barricade raised.Photo courtesy of Giniw CollectiveWater protectors view the road blockade in Canada as another example of local sheriffs working to protect Enbridge's interests. Water protectors have used the Namewag camp as a starting point for direct-action protests. Sometimes, this involved demonstrators blocking access to construction sites or locking themselves to pipe construction equipment. Water protectors are opposed to the tar sands pipeline because of its potential climate and environment impacts. This includes the possibility of pipeline spillage. Because the pipeline will cut through land to which Ojibwe have been guaranteed hunting and gathering, they claim that the U.S. government is violating treaties between Ojibwe and Ojibwe.