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Groups respond to Line 3 hearing shutdown

Opponents of the proposed replacement of Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline enter the DECC before the evening session of Wednesday’s public hearing. Steve Kuchera /
Groups respond to Line 3 hearing shutdown

Pipeline protesters caused an early end to the Enbridge Line 3 public hearing at the DECC on Wednesday night.

“The crowd got lively after the judge repeatedly refused to let indigenous women speak if she recognized them as a speaker at any other time,” photographer Rob Wilson wrote on Facebook. “People called into question if she knows every speaker from memory and why the white Enbridge workers could talk twice.”

Videos taken toward the end of the second round of the day’s hearings, scheduled from 6-9 p.m., show a group chanting “shut it down” as Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly tried to quiet the room before ultimately ending the hearing.

Line 3 opponents Honor the Earth said in a statement Thursday, “We would like peace, and urge the state not to issue the permit."

​"For five years, the ​Anishinaabe​ ​​have been working very hard to use a process we do not trust,” the statement said. “We all feel like we have been staring down the barrel of a pipeline coming toward our territories.”

Enbridge denounced the protests in a statement, and pro-pipeline group Jobs for Minnesotans called out the hearing-ending actions as “extremist behavior” and “intimidation tactics.”

“The intent of the public hearing was to listen to the views of Minnesotans, and aggressive actions by a group of individuals made it impossible for members of the public, including many of our members, to participate in this important public process and share their views,” read a statement.

Wednesday’s first public hearing, from 1-4 p.m., was dominated by pro-pipeline viewpoints and Enbridge employees.

Judge O’Reilly is to issue a recommendation on the 760,000-barrel-per-day oil pipeline in February, with a decision on the $6.5 billion project expected from the Public Utilities Commission in April.