I pitched Reuters on covering the Treaty People Gathering, a multi-day act of civil disobedience and protest against the Line 3 pipeline, led by the Ojibwe people in Northern Minnesota. Thousands gathered, with some marching to the Mississippi headwaters to participate in an Indigenous-led prayer while a smaller group of water protectors occupied a Park Rapids pumping station Enbridge was building, chaining themselves to heavy equipment. County sheriffs eventually breached the demonstrators barricades and arrested virtually everyone, including journalist Alan Weisman and medics.
The Line 3 pipeline has been in place for decades but is so decrepit it only operates at fifty percent of its capacity. The project Indigenous communities are opposed to is a replacement and expansion of the pipeline, leading inevitably to increased volumes of tar sands being extracted and the likelihood of virtually unmanageable spills. Further, along pipeline construction routes, the issue of human trafficking is so endemic as to require the Minnesota Department of Health to request an official policy response from Enbridge on the matter.
A week after these events the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied one of three appeals intended to stop the Line 3 pipeline.
To learn more about the Line 3 pipeline here are two helpful resources I used in my reporting:
* Healing Minnsota Stories' timeline of Line 3 news (compiled by Scott Russell)