On June 7, the Two Inlets pump station near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border was vandalized by Line 3 protestors. This project is supporting about 8,600 jobs, 6,500 of which are local. This destruction is unacceptable and an abuse of the first amendment.
The vandalism was substantial: slashed tires, cut hoses, rocks lodged into engines, forced entry into offices, and electrical wiring tampering were all found on the scene when workers showed up for work Monday morning. More than this, destruction of environmental safeguards that were intended to control erosion and protect water quality were bombarded and obliterated— hypocrisy levels are high. Enbridge, the attacked pipeline company, acted quickly to protect employees. Workers were evacuated from the site, including employees of Indigenous-owned contractor Gordon Construction from the White Earth Reservation. Gordon Construction’s damaged equipment, pictured below, will be taken out of service for weeks and completely overhauled, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Juli Kellner, Enbridge spokesperson, weighed in, “While we respect everyone’s right to peacefully and lawfully protest, that is not what happened on Monday at the Two Inlets pump station. Protesters attempted to trap workers, while forcefully entering and then occupying the site, trespassing and criminally damaging property. This is unacceptable, and we will seek the full prosecution of all involved.”
Violent protest it not an appropriate method of dissent. Freedom of speech and the right to assemble is a constitutional right but not when it senselessly destroys private property and puts workers, law enforcement, and protestors themselves at risk.