Statement of solidarity for Water Protectors and Indigenous leaders defending against Line 3 pipeline

Construction could begin very soon to replace a major oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.

Construction could begin very soon to replace a major oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.

Water Protectors are peacefully occupying and defending the banks of the Mississippi River

The Wilderness Society stands in solidarity with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (also known as the Anishinaabe or Ojibwe) and the frontline Water Protectors standing against Enbridge’s tar sands crude oil pipeline, Line 3, in Northern Minnesota. We respect their tribal sovereignty and Treaty Rights and support the Water Protectors’ brave leadership in putting their bodies on the line in defense of sacred lands, waters, their own food security and self-determination.

We affirm that Ojibwe Treaty Territory and Ancestral Homelands must not become fossil fuel sacrifice zones. We acknowledge Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples as the longest-serving stewards of the land and urge supporters of The Wilderness Society to stand with or donate in support of the Water Protectors peacefully occupying and defending the banks of the Mississippi River.

The proposed Line 3 expansion path cuts through the heart of Ojibwe Treaty Territory where tribal members retain the traditional and cultural rights—affirmed many times over by the US Supreme Court—to hunt, fish, gather, and hold ceremony.

Line 3 would result in devastating ecological harm to 211 waterways in its path including the Great Lakes—home to one-fifth of the world’s fresh water —and the destruction of sacred Ojibwe cultural sites including some of the last best wild rice beds in the world. The Ojibwe people have lived in essential harmony with these threatened wild rice beds for generations. Yet, despite ongoing legal appeals, the Canadian Enbridge corporation is pushing forward on pipeline construction and causing irreparable harm in the process.

This pipeline expansion will double the flow of the old pipeline it is replacing, up to 370,000 more barrels of oil per day. The additional oil transported through Line 3 is the equivalent of the total CO2 daily emissions of 16-18 million cars, every year the pipeline operates. Enbridge has calculated that the societal costs of climate change that might result from Line 3 could reach $287 billion over the next 30 years. The development and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure like pipelines deepen North America’s dependence on fossil fuels, exacerbates the climate crisis and delays progress toward a clean energy future.

We urge Governor Walz to break the generations-old legacy of broken promises to Native nations in Minnesota, revisit his previous commitments to climate leadership and heed the call of tribal leaders to reverse permitting approvals for the Line 3 Pipeline. We call on President-Elect Biden to stand with Indigenous leaders and speak out against the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline. We ask local, state and federal governments to respect the Water Protectors' rights to peacefully protest without unjust or militarized intervention.

The Wilderness Society welcomes and encourages our friends and members to join us in supporting the brave frontline Water Protectors putting their bodies in harm's way to defend these sacred places and the health of our planet. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has stood with The Wilderness Society and our partners to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness—also in Northern Minnesota and part of Ojibwe ancestral homelands —against damaging copper mining. Now we are asking you, our friends and supporters, to join us in standing with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Please visit to learn more about how you can support Water Protectors, donate to their peaceful protest effort or join them on the front lines of the fight against the Line 3 Pipeline.

The Wilderness Society