For Immediate Release: March 17th, 2021
Contact: Tiffany Hartung, tiffany [at] interfaithpowerandlight.org
More Than 500 Faith Leaders and Clergy Call on President Biden to Stop the Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline in Minnesota
Washington DC- Faith groups delivered a letter from 520 clergy, faith leaders, and leaders of religious communities in 43 states and the District of Columbia to the Biden Administration requesting President Biden stop the Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota, and all other fossil fuel projects that have federal jurisdiction.
Enbridge’s Line 3 is a pipeline expansion that will bring nearly one million barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. The new pipeline corridor runs through untouched wetlands, the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples, and the Mississippi River headwaters to the shores of Lake Superior.
The letter from faith leaders applauds the President’s executive actions, including the stopping of the Keystone XL pipeline, and asks him as a devout Catholic to be brave and faithful and to stop the Line 3 pipeline as well.
It goes on to say “All of our faith and spiritual traditions teach us that we must care for sacred earth. In your inaugural address, you said ‘a cry for survival comes from the planet itself.’ We hear that cry, it is being sung by our Indigenous siblings standing in the cold Minnesota winter against this destruction of the sacred. Join their prayer and stand against Line 3.”
The letter calls for urgent action by President Biden as Line 3 construction is underway, violating the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe peoples. It also calls for an end to all other fossil fuel projects in the United States, and for the President to build back from COVID-19 in a way that is fossil free.
Almost 200 water protectors have been arrested since December in nonviolent action opposing the pipeline in the path of construction. Enbridge is on schedule to drill under dozens of major rivers, including the Mississippi River Headwaters twice this spring. Enbridge is the company responsible for the largest inland oil spill in United States’ history in Grand Rapids, MN, in 1991.
Faith leaders across the country and world stand with water protectors on the ground and are calling for President Biden to reject Line 3 and all other fossil fuel projects. Faith leaders released the following statements in response:
“Bulldozers have begun plowing through sacred wild rice watersheds, eight hundred wetlands, and two hundred plus bodies of water in Ojibwe treaty territory,” said Bishop Craig Loya of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. “Indigenous water protectors are fighting to protect their land, while the police are militarizing and Enbridge’s drill is preparing to burrow under the headwaters of the Mississippi River with millions of barrels of tar sands oil. We need President Biden to act right now.”
“We have a moral obligation to stand with our Indigenous siblings to stop the Line 3 pipeline in order to protect their treaty rights, to prevent further destruction of this sacred planet, and to avert further climate disasters,” said Rev. Susan Hendershot, president of Interfaith Power & Light. “Our children, grandchildren, and future generations are counting on us to align our values with our policies.”
“Killing the planet is against all of our religions, yet that is exactly what is happening,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith. “Last week, there were over 400 multi-faith actions across the world calling for an end to fossil fuels and a just transition to a renewable, equitable economy. All eyes are on the Biden administration to see whether he will stand up to the fossil fuel industry and stop allowing destruction of land, water, and climate. We hope he shows the leadership the world needs by stopping Line 3, DAPL, and all other fossil fuel projects.”
“For far too long, our church forebears helped cause the many environmental threats now facing God’s creation, Indigenous lifeways, and the common good,” said The Rev. Nathan Empsall, Faithful America campaigns director. “Faithful America’s grassroots Christian members recognize that our faith calls us to support Native-led healing solutions as a key way of loving our neighbors. That’s why we’re calling on President Biden to build back better by respecting tribal self-determination and rejecting the climate-killing Line 3 tar sands pipeline once and for all.”