CLOQUET, MN –Dozens are gathering in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 proposed crude oil pipeline. Protests over the controversial project in Douglas County, Wis., have resulted in a number of arrests.
Right now, several routes are at the center of public hearings. One group of protesters who call themselves water protectors is recalling Standing Rock as they voice their opposition.
One of the proposed Line 3 routes would travel through the Fond du Lac Band’s land, which is where The Makwa Initiative is underway. One Ojibwe grandmother says Makwa means black bear in Ojibwe.
Fond du Lac Band member Jim Northrup III is among the growing members of the Initiative.
“They’re here, they’re serious,” water protector, Northrup III, said.
Northrup is the son of late world-renowned author and poet, Jim Northrup, and says Makwa is bound to become as big as Standing Rock. He says he is happy to see the water protectors return the favor after spending a year at Standing Rock.
“It’s like these are the ones that are watching, watching – trying to watch over this water,” Northrup III said.
The Makwa Initiative is on 30 acres of privately owned land that falls within the Fond du Lac Band’s boundaries. It started as a gathering of several people, but we are told the gates have opened to nearly 150 people gathering on weekends.
“I know it so much where I’m willing to die for this,” water protector, Dallon White, said.
The growing initiative has caught the attention of St. Louis County. In a letter to the landowner, Scott Kretz, the county lays out the permits needed to be filed if he wants to use his property as a camp.
Kretz claims he is simply opening his place to hunting, gathering and traditional practices.
“Are they going to take the rights of property away from me for doing this?” water protector, Scott Kretz, said.
In its letter, St. Louis County says a campground application ensures trash is properly disposed of and sewage is properly treated in order to prevent pollution at the site.
According to a St. Louis County spokesperson, there are parts of Cloquet where the mailing address is Cloquet, but the location still falls within St. Louis County; that is the case when it comes to Kretz’s land.
“They’re going to punish me because I’ve allowed people to come visit me in this common cause? Where’s the harm?” Kretz said.
Northrup says they are there to protect the earth’s resources against fossil fuels.
“I come home and they’re trying to put in another line or remove their line. Nobody knows what they’re really doing. But I’m ready to set aside more because that’s what I did for Standing Rock.”
KBJR 6 was not allowed into the entirety of the site due to concerns of St. Louis County using our footage against those on-site. KBJR 6 was told all water protectors are welcome to join the Initiative.
The Camp Makwa – Line 3 Front Line Camp’s Facebook page says supplies can be sent to 3868 Brevator Road, Cloquet MN 55720. The Facebook page links to a legal fund in their about section.
We asked Barry Simonson, Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project Director, if the company was prepared for a Standing Rock situation happening at the site, and Simonson said he did not think anyone wants that to happen.
“We at Enbridge have been operating in Minnesota for over 65 years. We live here, and I work and live here, and Minnesotans live and work in Minnesota. So I don’t think anyone wants that to happen,” Simonson said.
The Enbridge Line 3 project has already been approved in Wisconsin, but has yet to be approved in Minnesota. The Line 3 Pipeline carries Canadian crude oil from Alberta to Wisconsin.
(Reporter/Writer: Ramona Marozas, Photographer: Michelle Alfini, Editor: Anthony Larson)
By KBJR 6, Posted: Sep 25, 2017