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The company behind Minnesota’s harmful pipeline project is reportedly paying police officers to molest local women

According to the Stop Line 3 campaign, Line 3 is a pipeline expansion project that will bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands daily from Canada to Wisconsin via Minnesota. “All pipelines are running out. Line 3 is not about the safe transport of a necessary product, but about expanding a dying tar sands industry, ”argued the campaign.

Since the project was announced in 2014, activists including the Ojibwe water protectionhave called on officials to stop the project as it not only violates the rights of indigenous treaties but also poses a major risk for environmental pollution.

Construction began on December 1, 2020 and is expected to be 50% complete by March 11 Announcement from Enbridge. Segments in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin were completed prior to this announcement. Since then, there have been protests almost daily with activists and lawyers, especially those who identify as women and have been arrested. More than 130 people were arrested in connection with Line 3 protests. CNN reported. Additionally, over a dozen were arrested on March 25 alone.

Those who were not arrested have been intimidated and harassed by the police, who also allegedly track down demonstrators. This raises concerns about the impact Enbridge has over the local law enforcement agency as bills show that the company paid the department’s salaries.

According to Received invoices from HEATEDMinnesota and Enbridge law enforcement officers began their relationship last year when the company was approved for Line 3. According to HEATEDThe permit indicated that Enbridge would have to pay the police for all public safety-related activities involving pipelines to avoid placing undue burdens on local taxpayers.

As a result, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department is currently demanding a reimbursement of at least $ 352,576.22 from Enbridge for hours and equipment related to Line 3 Project Security.

According to the bills, the request extends from November 28th to February 19th. While the major part relates to the physical security hours performed, a part relates to equipment, including a Live Scan Fingerprint SystemThis allows officers to quickly confirm the identity of the people they arrest.

Before January, there were fewer officials on site. Between January and February 19, 43 officials were reported patrolling the pipeline project to prevent disruption, HEATED reported. records, compiled by HEATED, say the average Cass County officer spent at least 17% of their regular workday on Line 3 Safety Patrol between January and February, in addition to about 12 hours a week of overtime.

Worse, Enbridge not only paid Cass County officials, but the Canadian company tapped others Counties for his “security patrol”. It is currently unclear how many counties and what impact Enbridge has on the local police force, in addition to what HEATED has ascertained.

While it is normal for police officers to be present on certain construction protection projects, the actions these officers are taking under the guise of “security patrols” have been worrying. Activists live in fear due to police harassment and intimidation. especially women.

Even well-known actress and activist Jane Fonda raised concerns about the police patrol after visiting the project site. “We stopped to wait for them. It took them a long time to identify and they didn’t get a ticket in the end,” she said HEATED. “Then we drove 12 miles to the press conference and the police car followed us all the way.”

This fear is not new and is limited to Fonda’s experience. According to tribal attorney and activist Tara Houska, anyone who speaks out against the Line 3 project has was followed by police while they were driving alone. While many were verbally intimidated, some have reported violence and brutality. “The police presence was strong,” Houska told HEATED. A car followed us for two hours last week. “

In March, Houska told CNN that some lawyers had been physically arrested at construction sites, but police also saw social media feeds to identify others and mailed a subpoena. “They seem to believe that it will keep us from protecting the land. They fundamentally miss the point of what water protection officials are doing who is willing to compromise ourselves, our freedom, our bodies and our personal comfort for something put bigger than we ourselves, “said Houska.

Women were not only wrestled to the ground by male officers, but held overnight in prison cells designed for lower capacity, making social distancing impossible. According to HEATED, even female journalists were mistreated by police officers, with some removed from projects where editors feared for their safety. “I don’t feel safe,” one woman told HEATED. “I walk past the food history officers every day and I know they are preparing to beat me up – with the help of Enbridge.”

Not only will Enbridge’s pipeline on Line 3 violate treaties to protect Native American land and water, it will also endanger lakes, rivers and wild rice with the barrels of tar sand oils that are to be transferred. Enbridge knows the risks its project poses – we cannot remain silent as it pays law enforcement officers and intimidates those who struggle against its harmful pipeline.

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