A Letter from LeeAnne about the Line 3 Pipeline Proposal in Hearings this Week
The big news story in Minnesota has been a long time coming. Enbridge wants to shut down a current pipeline and build a new, bigger one on a new route. (for more, check out NPR’s Rivers of Oil). Working with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, people from St. Mary’s have been learning about and doing all we can to stop it. A group of us even went up to the routes and met with people who lived there.
Lots can be and has been said about it all.
What I haven’t been clear about, and should be, this week especially, is why I am so against it.
Many of you know that my grandparents built a natural gas business in Northern Montana, along the prairie that the Blackfeet once roamed freely. Some of income from that has enabled me to go to school, be trained for ministry, and has in a small way subsidized my life and the ministry we share. Someday, along with my brother and 4 cousins, we will inherit that company. So it’s hard for me to say anything at all from place of comfort or innocence on this topic. I wrestle with my role and my family’s role in the fossil fuel industry all the time.
But a place from which I can solidly stand is as a daughter of colonizer immigrants, and as a citizen of Minnesota, whose people promised not to mess with the inheritance of the Ojibwe from whom we swindled the land. I’ve been reading books and listening to elders and learned just a bit about the shameful legacy of broken treaties and overt attempts to destroy a people. When I began learning, it was something that I thought happened in the past.
But it’s happening right now. In my day, on my watch. And I refuse to be a part of that.
The Ojibwe do not want the pipelines there. Not the old rotting one, not a new bigger one. Leaks – and there will be leaks, there always are – will do incredible damage to their inheritance of healthy water and land. And as someone who tries to pattern her life after Jesus, and someone whose baptismal promises include respecting the dignity of every human being and working for justice and peace, I will fight those who wish to rob people from whom we have already taken so much.
So, I stand with many many others and hold signs and make speeches and deliver letters and listen to the people who will be most affected. And this week I will stand with St. Marianns and other faith leaders, following among others the leadership of those from Youth Climate Interveners, Honor the Earth, MN 350, MNIPL, and the Poor People’s Campaign, and do whatever it takes, including be arrested with other faith leaders in prayerful civil disobedience, to fight the breaking of yet another promise that is Line 3.
I invite you, in whatever way fits you and your values, to stand behind the Ojibwe as well. Truly, after all we’ve done, it’s the very least we can do.