New student group organizes against Line 3 pipeline

The group aims to educate the community about the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project.

From left, Grace Hogan, Madeline Miller, Benjamin Perez, Elizabeth Zanmiller and Sally Zuzuly, officers of the new “Students Against Pilelines” student group, pose for a group portrait by the Mississippi river on Friday, Feb. 21. Miller says that issues around pipeline construction, including Line 3, affect students on campus as well as the rest of the state.

Andy Kosier

From left, Grace Hogan, Madeline Miller, Benjamin Perez, Elizabeth Zanmiller and Sally Zuzuly, officers of the new “Students Against Pilelines” student group, pose for a group portrait by the Mississippi river on Friday, Feb. 21. Miller says that issues around pipeline construction, including Line 3, affect students on campus as well as the rest of the state.

Jiang Li

A new University of Minnesota student group is collaborating with others to build awareness about and opposition to the proposed Line 3 pipeline and pipelines in general.

Students Against Pipelines, formed by five officers this spring, has connected and held meetings with many student groups like MN Youth Climate Strike at UMN, Sunrise Movement and the Environmental Student Association to educate students about the pipeline’s impact and encourage others to advocate against it.

“We think it is really important [that] the academic community in Minnesota as a whole starts taking more stances against pipelines, standing in solidarity with the Indigenous people,” said University sophomore Madeline Miller, the group’s president.

The Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project would replace part of an existing, decades-old pipeline stretching from Edmonton, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, cutting across Northern Minnesota. The project is proposed by Enbridge Inc., an energy delivery company based in Canada, which claims it would provide job opportunities and economic growth.

However, the project has also raised concern for its promotion of fossil fuels and its risk of polluting the water, land and nearby Indigenous communities’ wild rice fields.

Miller learned about the Line 3 Pipeline while interning with MN350, a non-profit organization that aims to challenge the climate crisis through grassroots movements in Minnesota.

“The Line 3 fight is so important, and so few people know about it,” Miller said. 

University marketing sophomore Marina Norby, who is also a group member, said she has been hearing about the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project for years. 

“The new line … is going to run through some of the most valuable waters that we have in our state. It’s going to destroy rice lakes, and it’s going to completely run through native lands,” Norby said. “Honestly, I don’t think there’s any good reason why they should be allowed to do it.” 

Norby said she would like to engage others with the group and help them get their messages through social media.

The group also focuses on human rights issues and encourages a transition away from fossil fuels. 

In 2007, Minnesota passed the Next Generation Energy Act, which aims to reduce Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and 2050. Miller said she thinks the pipeline will hold this back.

“If we put in this pipeline, you know that is going to undo everything we are trying to accomplish from that policy,” Miller said. “There are so many contradictions within our government, within the University community and within the state itself.”

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has granted Enbridge Inc. a route permit for the Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Project. On Friday, a number of student groups, including Students Against Pipelines, protested during a Governor Tim Walz event at the Humphrey School.

Protesters were asked to leave when they disrupted the event by holding up signs reading “Speak up, stop Line 3” and “Protect our future” in front of the stage. 

“We want to raise awareness of the [Line 3 Pipeline] on campus and make it something that is much widely talked about,” Miller said.