Today, Honor the Earth is launching a “Welcome Water Protectors” campaign across Northern Minnesota. Two billboards have been unveiled along the proposed route of the new Line 3 pipeline, as water protectors and allies arrive for the summer and all sides await the State of Minnesota's final permit decision on June 27th. One billboard is located in Park Rapids, MN, and the other in Backus, near one of Enbridge's illegally permitted pipe yards.
The billboards feature James Reents, a Ten Mile Lake resident and leader of Northern Water Alliance, a grassroots group of lake associations and landowners formally intervening in the PUC process to oppose Line 3. Sitting behind him on his horse is a Lakota child, riding along the proposed pipeline route on Honor the Earth's annual Love Water Not Oil tour. “The pipeline issue comes down to basically two issues for me: Do we want to protect the quality of our water in Minnesota, or do we want to cave to the fossil fuel industry, which is on its last legs and trying to usurp every last bit of oil wherever it can?” says Reents.
“Each year, Minnesota posts signs welcoming fishermen and hunters to the North Country. This year, we want to especially recognize and welcome Water Protectors," says Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth. Since much of the pipeline is proposed to cross county and state land, HTE is welcoming Water Protectors to camp in accordance with all applicable laws. This includes a “leave no trace” policy while camping for up to two weeks on state or county land without a permit.
“If the system works, there will be no pipeline permit issued in Minnesota,” LaDuke adds. “In any case, all Water Protectors are welcome. When the state rejects Enbridge’s proposal, we will celebrate. If the state should go against all recommendations and issue a permit, we will be ready to camp and protect our water.”
Earlier this week, Honor the Earth celebrated the grand opening of Namewag Camp, a new cultural camp on the proposed new pipeline route, with a historic gathering of matriarchs and young women leaders from different territories. Both sides are ramping up preparations as we await the State of Minnesota's final permit decision on Line 3, scheduled for June 27th, the last day of a series of 4 public meetings (June 18, 19, 26, 27).
STICKERS FOR WATER PROTECTOR-FRIENDLY BUSINESSES
Honor the Earth has also produced these Water Protector stickers and is distributing them free of charge to area businesses who wish to welcome visitors and show support for those protecting Minnesota's waters.