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More arrests in Line 3 protests; one jumped onto pipe being lowered into trench

The protests in Carlton County are just the latest in demonstrations against the project.

Three more people were arrested Monday at a construction site for the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Carlton County.

On Monday afternoon at around 3:30 p.m., tribal officers from the Fond du Lac Police Department and deputies from the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of people trespassing in a construction area near State Highway 210 and Hohensee Road.

The people were protesting the pipeline when one man got into a pipe as it was being lowered into a trench filled with water, according to a press from the Northern Lights Task Force, a group of sheriff’s departments formed in response to Line 3 protests.

Video of the incident was shared by "water protector" group Camp Miigizi to Facebook, with the protester identified as Jeff Nichols.

The group says Nichols sat on the pipe "for nearly five hours, preventing workers from putting the pipe onto frozen sand bags which would have damaged the structural integrity of the pipeline." 

Area fire departments were called, including a specialized trench rescue team from Virginia, Minnesota. An ambulance was brought in as a precaution, but two protesters blocked its access to the scene and were arrested. Both were booked in jail and held on misdemeanor charges.

At around 10:30 p.m., Nichols was also taken into custody and seen by paramedics.

The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline received the final necessary approval in November when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency approved a construction stormwater permit. The pipeline will replace Enbridge’s existing line through Northern Minnesota, connecting tar fields in Canada to Superior, Wisconsin.

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The project has received criticism from both environmental and Native activists, who have claimed it will contribute to climate change and violate Native treaty rights.

Opponents of the project have also asked the state to reconsider its approval, claiming Enbridge's recent capacity additions and decreased demand due to COVID-19 make the project unnecessary. 

Monday’s protests were one of numerous demonstrations against the protest. Last month, protesters locked themselves to a portion of the pipeline Backus, according to WCCO.

Eight protesters were also arrested last month in Aitkin County when authorities said they interfered with construction workers, per the AP

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