SUPERIOR, Wis. – Construction on a section of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline was shut down for about two hours outside of Superior by protesters on Monday.
Protesters drove to the site, arriving around noon at the roughly 12.5 mile long construction zone, reports the Bemidji Pioneer. Some of the protesters wore masks in order to cover their faces. Videos show them locking themselves to heavy equipment.
Enbridge’s workers on the site quickly locked the cabs to their heavy equipment and left the area, reports the Bemidji Pioneer. This was in accordance with their extensive corporate training, according to Enbridge representatives. If they feel unsafe they are to leave quickly and make sure not to engage.
Protesters told workers to “go home early,” and to “stop destroying our mother,” presumably referring to the earth as their mother. They also claimed that they were there to protect the water and had no desire to harm anyone.
“This non-violent direct action (came) from the heart,” the protest’s organizer Neo Gabo Benais said on Facebook, according to the Duluth News Tribune. “Our planet is perfect, but we are destroying it.”
The under-construction pipeline is slated to replace the existing 50-year-old Enbridge Line 3 that runs from Alberta, Canada down to Superior, reports the Duluth News Tribune. The route of the pipeline takes it across northern Minnesota. While construction is underway in both Wisconsin and Canada, the review process for Minnesota has been drawn out. A decision on whether or not the new pipeline will be approved is expected to be handed down sometime in the spring of 2018.
Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith told the Duluth News Tribune that protesters may have put themselves in harm’s way with their actions. Another pipeline very nearby to the construction is still active, and that coupled with the muddy construction site could have caused human harm.