By Phyllis Hasbrouck

“If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.”

NASA scientist James Hansen made that famous prediction in a 2012 editorial criticizing President Obama for not blocking Canadian plans to exploit its vast tar sands oil reserves. Join us at a huge rally in Duluth on September 28 to help turn the tables and declare “game over for tar sands extraction!

Our chance to shine in the fight to save the planet!

Today, we’re at a turning point in the struggle to keep the tar sands in the ground, to give our climate a fighting chance to recover. To increase its tar sands output, Canada needs more pipelines to reach the ports. We Wisconsinites are in the enviable — yes, enviable! — position of being along a route targeted by the behemoth pipeline company, Enbridge Energy. All of us, including you, have a once-in-a-planet’s-lifetime opportunity to stop a pipeline that would carry this climate-destroying, toxic product to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf Coast.

The best place to stop a Wisconsin pipeline is in Minnesota!

 Line 3 currently carries tar sands oil from Hardesty, Alberta, through Minnesota, and into Superior, Wisconsin. From there, Line 61 carries it diagonally through our state, and then southwards to the Flanagan Station near Pontiac, Illinois, and then on to the Gulf Coast. If we don’t stop Enbridge, it will fulfill its plan to build a new, bigger Line 3 through Minnesota, bringing almost twice the current volume of oil into Superior. What follows? The company will need a way to move those extra 530,000 barrels per day to the Gulf Coast, and that means a new “twin” for Line 61 — aka Line 66 — that would come through Dane County, just 18 miles from our Capitol as the crow flies.

“You can’t stop a pipeline!” 

I hear this all the time from farmers along the line, but it’s not true! The map below shows 28 fossil fuel infrastructure projects that were canceled in just two years (2015 and 2016).

We CAN stop this pipeline, and we need a regional effort to do it

Enbridge has four states in its sights — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan — and we all need to join together to stop the flow of tar sands through our home communities. On  September 28, thousands of people will converge on Duluth to show Minnesota’s new Democratic Governor, Tim Walz, that the people want him to reject Enbridge’s Line 3. Although his Public Utilities Commission gave the pipeline the green light on June 28, 2018, a recent judgment by the Minnesota Court of Appeals slowed the process down by rejecting the certificate of need because of an inadequate Environmental Impact Statement. And now Governor Walz’s administration can stop the new Line 3 by denying it a 401 (clean water) permit.

Will you help us mobilize Wisconsinites for this regional rally?

There are so many ways you can help, starting with signing up for a seat on the bus. It will be one looong day, with no need to buy lodging in Minnesota, as we’ll be bussed back the same day. (Food will be provided on the bus!) This summer, we’ll be reaching out in many ways to many constituencies, to educate and mobilize Wisconsinites to protect our state and our planet.

We’re all in this together

I told you that 28 fossil fuel infrastructure projects were canceled in just two years, and opposition continues to grow. Here’s a snapshot of some of what’s happening:

  • In Nebraska, people power, organized by Bold Nebraska, has held off the Keystone XL pipeline for 10 years! That fight continues.
  • The Trans Mountain Pipeline that would carry tar sands oil to the port of Vancouver, BC, is being opposed by 150 First Nations; the Province of British Columbia; the state of Washington; the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria and 19 other BC municipalities; and 350,000 petition signers.
  • In Michigan, a powerful coalition called Oil and Water Don’t Mix is fighting to get Enbridge’s 68-year-old Line 5 decommissioned before its underwater portion in the Straits of Mackinac ruptures, contaminating the entire Great Lakes. If the coalition wins, it will be a tremendous victory, but it will also mean that Enbridge will try to reroute Line 5 through Wisconsin!

On September 28, we’ll mingle with people from all four states and many indigenous nations on the streets of Duluth. There will be dazzling art and many creative actions that day. Will you join us? Your time and talents are needed — help us create a movement against tar sands that’s unstoppable!