By Katherine Moore, Head Copy Editor Originally published in Issue 9, Volume 33 of The University Register on March 12, 2021
The Morris chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) partnered with schools from all across Minnesota on Friday, March 5 to protest Enbridge’s Line 3. They held a rally on the Mall and co-sponsored a virtual rally with several other Minnesota colleges and universities.
The rally’s primarily focus was on a divestment campaign to “Stop the Money Pipeline.” Stop the Money Pipeline is an organization that is dedicated to directing the financial support of banks, insurance companies, and other institutions away from the fossil fuel industry. Students at the rally called upon their school officials, including the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and other people in positions of leadership, to divest and disclose their financial asset information to be accessible to students and the public.
Climate activists believe that the best and fastest way to stop the fossil fuel industry is to stop the money that is funding it. SDS member Emily Wittkop believes that an institution can not be climate friendly unless they are completely disconnected from the oil industry financially.
“The University of Minnesota Morris is now carbon neutral for our energy but we’re not carbon neutral in our money,” Wittkop said.
Because of this, Wittkop worked with students from UMN Morris, Duluth, and Twin cities to co author a letter asking for accessible financial information from UMN, for the university system to start the process of fossil fuel divestment, and for the university and members of the Board of Regents to make a statement publicly condemning the building of Line 3. The letter can be signed by any Minnesota resident.
Line 3 is a replacement pipeline being built by Enbridge Energy that is planned to span from Alberta, Canada to Superior, WI. The new line will take a different route and be made of bigger pipes that will be able to carry more tar sands oil. The line will cross more than 230 water bodies in Minnesota and cut through the Fond Du Lac reservation.
Those in opposition to Line 3 argue that there is too much at stake. A leak or a spill could be catastrophic to the land, water, and people near the pipeline. Climate activists say that even in the unlikely best case scenario with zero leaks, the pipeline is still a danger because of the toxic tar sands oil that it carries. There are also concerns about increased physical and sexual violence against Native American women. Recently seven men were charged in a sex trafficing sting in Itasca county, including two contracted employees working on Line 3.
To learn more about Line 3 visit enbridge.com, stopline3.org, or stopthemoneypipeline.com.
Photo on top courtesy of Morris SDS