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Over 300 Groups Call for President Biden to take Presidential Action to Stop the Line 3 Pipeline

May 26, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Biden,

With renewed urgency, as melting ice has left pristine waters perilously unprotected, we are following up our March 8th letter — signed by 370 organizations across the country — to again implore you to take swift action to revoke the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline permit and put a stop to this dramatic undermining of your immediate priorities. As you know, Line 3 poses a significant threat to water, Indigenous rights, and our global climate, and its rushed construction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is delivering quantifiable danger to Minnesotan communities and energy workers alike. Worldwide, more than 8 million people died from fossil fuel pollution in 2018 alone — nearly 1 out of 5 total global deaths, and COVID-19 comorbidities were well established in 2020.

Due to the urgency of the climate crisis and the fact that Indigenous leaders have not consented to the Line 3 project, large-scale, non-violent civil disobedience is now being organized for early June along the Line 3 pipeline route. This decision was not made lightly by organizers, especially after witnessing the violent, militarized police response to water protectors at Standing Rock. Yet, due to countless unanswered calls from Indigenous leaders and other experts to halt Line 3 construction, revoke or suspend the 404 permit, or respect Indigenous rights and Treaties, escalation on the ground is now underway. Concerned citizens of all kinds are traveling from across the nation, heeding the call of Indigenous leaders. We are deeply concerned for peoples’ safety and health. None of us want further harms or mass arrests for communities on the ground protecting water, the global climate, and Indigenous lands.

The situation calls for Presidential action.

We urge you to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately reevaluate and suspend or revoke Enbridge’s Line 3 Clean Water Act Section 404 permit. The Army Corps failed to consider significant information on Line 3’s impacts in reaching its original determination, including the risks of oil spills, climate change effects, and consequences to Indigenous peoples. The Army Corps also refused to prepare a federal Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3, despite overwhelming evidence that the project would have significant impacts.

As you indicated in your Day One Executive Order, “the United States must [...] exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway. Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”

The same logic applies to Line 3, and all federal fossil fuel infrastructure permits, which would undermine your objectives by locking in fossil fuel dependence for decades to come.

Climate scientists warn that we must keep the vast majority of known fossil fuels reserves in the ground and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 to achieve international climate goals.​ Accordingly, your administration cannot afford to continue approving fossil fuel infrastructure permits. Doing so prolongs the use of fossil fuels and encourages unwise investment. Analysis has shown that building Line 3 would unlock the emissions equivalent to building 50 coal plants,​ costing society more than $287 billion in climate impacts in just its first 30 years of operation. Adding such fuel to the fire in the midst of our climate crisis is unacceptable.

Your unprecedented goals for climate action, for Federal respect of Tribal sovereignty, for environmental justice, and for science all demand you revoke or amend the Line 3 presidential permit, as you did for Keystone XL (KXL). Your rejection of the KXL permit strongly signaled that the Biden administration will deliver a historic break from the reckless fossil fuel giveaways of the Trump administration. Line 3 would be the same diameter as KXL, would carry the same heavy tar sands oil through the Midwest, and was also inappropriately permitted by the Trump administration. Canceling the Line 3 permit is consistent with canceling the KXL permit and is foundational to fulfilling your transformative, intersectional promises.

The Battle for the Soul of the Nation is on full display in Minnesota. In the state’s largest public comment period on Line 3, 94% of the comments submitted opposed construction of the pipeline. Since 2014, thousands of Minnesotans have participated in hearings, made calls, written letters, and organized in their communities to oppose Enbridge’s Line 3. Hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country, from all walks of life, have joined them in opposing the project. Line 3 is a clear danger to climate, water, and land, and undermines the Indigenous rights and cultural foundations of the Anishinaabe people.

Enbridge’s new “replacement” route crosses the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice. The impact of construction — or worse, an oil spill — would permanently damage their ability to exercise these rights. Three Tribal governments and hundreds of Anishinaabe and Dakota community members in Minnesota are actively opposing this pipeline. Building Line 3 would carry on a legacy of state- and U.S. government-sanctioned oppression, directly contradicting your important promises to strengthen Nation-to-Nation relationships with Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples.

The new Line 3 route crosses 227 lakes and rivers, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River and rivers that feed directly into Lake Superior, putting all those waterways at imminent risk of a spill from the 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil that would flow daily. Tar sands oil sinks in water, making it nearly impossible to clean up from wetland areas. A spill could destroy prize fishing lakes and sacred wild rice beds, and gut the local economy.

Enbridge’s negligent 2010 spill of over 1 million gallons of tar sands oil from its aging Line 6B into the Kalamazoo River demonstrated the immensity of this threat, with a cleanup cost of over $1.2 billion.​ Enbridge’s newer pipelines are no safer than its old ones. Since 2002, the company’s pipelines have had 73 spills due to equipment installed less than 10 years prior.​ Enbridge has shown it cannot be trusted to protect precious bodies of water like the Mississippi River.

Moreover, according to the state of Minnesota’s own analysis, Enbridge failed to demonstrate Line 3 is needed, and did not provide a legally required oil demand forecast — a part of the process that is even more critical in a world of rapidly changing oil markets and climate policy. The Minnesota Department of Commerce recommended Line 3 be denied approval,​​ and the judge responsible for presiding over the case issued a legal recommendation that Enbridge’s proposal did not meet the standards set by state law.

Your Administration’s announcements on protecting our nation’s lakes and rivers, cleaning up aging and retired fossil fuel infrastructure currently polluting delicate environments, and building a clean energy economy powered by good, union jobs have set the vision and direction for the United States and the world—with Glasgow on the horizon. Together this mandate comes the inseparable and urgent need to stop fossil fuel companies from further entrenching the fatal fossil fuel era with dangerous projects like Line 3, which threaten to hamper your goals for decades into the future. To successfully and authentically Build Back Better, your Administration must promptly revoke the Line 3 permit.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


Thomas Pogge, Co-Founder, Academics Stand Against Poverty

Erika Thi Patterson, Campaign Director, Climate and Environmental Justice, Action Center on Race and the Economy

Kyle Crider, Program and Policy Director, Alabama Interfaith Power & Light

Jessica Azulay, Executive Director, Alliance for a Green Economy

Maayan Cohen, National Campaigns Director, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)

Katie Huffling, Executive Director, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

Lauren Windsor, Executive Director, American Family Voices

Sarah Stewart, President, Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc.

Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., Founder, Animas Valley Institute

Harriet Festing, Executive Director, Anthropocene Alliance

Ms.Thea Ormerod, President, ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change)

Meghan Fay Zahniser, Executive Director, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Marsela Pecanac, Founder, Atelier for Community Transformation

Keith Olstad, Chair, Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

David Krantz, President, Aytzim: Ecological Judaism

Carlos Ochoa, National Policy Associate, Azul

Alice Hu, Co-Director, Bank.Green

Evelyn Austin, Project Manager, Banking on a Better Future

Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth

Karen Feridun, Co-Founder, Better Path Coalition

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear

Justin Green, Executive Director, Big Reuse

Alexey Zimenko, Director General, Biodiversity Conservation Center

Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Executive Director, Blaque Women Rising

Jane Kleeb, Founder, Bold Alliance

Bhikkhu Bodhi, Chair, Buddhist Global Relief

Marie Venner, Co-Chair, Businesses for a Livable Climate

Chris Calwell, Co-Chair, CA Businesses for a Livable Climate

Igor Tregub, Chair, California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus

Marie Venner, Co-Chair, Call to Action Colorado

Stefanie Klass, Co-Chair, CatholicNetwork US

Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper

David Kyler, Co-Director, Center for a Sustainable Coast

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity

Nikki Reisch, Director, Climate & Energy Program, Center for International Environmental Law

Jina Penn-Tracy, Founder & Co-Owner, Centered Wealth

Paul Kaufman, Co-Chairman, Central Bergen Circle of GreenFaith

Kevin Hamilton, CEO, Central California Asthma Collaborative

Corey E. Olsen, Owner/Activist, CEO Pipe Organs/Golden Ponds Farm

Lisabeth Ryder, Co-Chair, CERBAT INC

John A. Wagner, Chatham Research Group

Mary Smith, Communications Director, Church Women United in New York State

Deb Katz, Executive Director, Citizens Awareness Network

Paul V. Ferrazzi, Executive Director, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community

Alison Burchell, Co-Founder, Clean Energy Action

Deanna White, State Director, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund of Minnesota

Jen Stevenson Zepeda, Associate Director, Climable, Inc.

Marty Nathan, Steering Committee Member, Climate Action Now Western Mass

Emaeyak Eyibio, Program Officer, Climate Change Network Nigeria

Regina LaRocque, MD MPH, Leadership Team, Climate Code Blue

Alexander Marquardt, Co-Founder & Staff Attorney, Climate Defense Project

Marla Marcum, Co-Founder & Director, Climate Disobedience Center

Liz Beall, Executive Director, Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas

Nicole Rom, Executive Director, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

RL Miller, President, Climate Hawks Vote

Donald M. Goldberg, Executive Director, Climate Law & Policy Project

Harriet Shugarman, Executive Director, ClimateMama

Joseph Wilson, Co-Coordinator, Coalition for Outreach, Policy, and Education

Paula Rogovin, Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains

Jodie Evans, Co-Founder, CODEPINK

Marie Venner, Co-Chair, Colorado Small Business Coalition

Rose Ann Witt, Co-Founder, Conejo Climate Coalition

Moana Bjur, Executive Director, Conservation Council For Hawaii

Patricia S Warner, Corvallis Climate Action Alliance

Brian Lee, Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee

Kate Watters, Executive Director, Crude Accountability

Peg Furshong, Director of Programs, CURE (Clean Up the River Environment)

Ntebo Mokuena, Campaign Manager, Daily Kos

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder & CEO, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action

Mike Bucci, Projects Coordinator, Deep Green Resistance

Loti Simmons, Co-Founder, Defenders of Somi Se’k

Shweta Arya, Outreach Director, Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

Veda Kanitz, Chair, DFL Environmental Caucus

Rachel Schlueter, Senior Organizer, Divest Ed

Stephen Brittle, President, Don't Waste Arizona

Anne D Burt, Founder and Coordinator, Down to Earth Storytelling

Kellie Berns, Program Director, Earth Guardians

LeeAnne Beres, Executive Director, Earth Ministry

Kathleen Rogers, President, EARTHDAY.ORG

Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director, EarthRights International

Dan Brook, Founder, Eco-Eating

Colleen Boland, Co-Founder, Elmirans & Friends Against Fracking

Alison Burchell, Co-Founder, Empower our Future

Dan Silver, Executive Director, Endangered Habitats League

Tara Thornton, Deputy Director, Endangered Species Coalition

Stephane Pouffary, Chief Executive Officer, ENERGIES 2050

Gordon MacAlpine, Convenor, Estes Valley Clean Energy Coalition

Jamal Raad, Executive Director, Evergreen Action

Susan Lemont, Media and Messaging Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts

Renate Heurich, Outreach Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion New Orleans

Leah Redwood, Action Coordinator, Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area

Carol Bardoff, Co-Coordinator, First Wednesdays San Leandro

Elizabeth Gilbert, Climate & Environmental Justice Coordinator, Florida Student Power Network

Thomas Meyer, National Organizing Manager, Food & Water Watch

Miriam Eide, Coordinating Director, Fossil Free California

Sara Hess, Chairperson, Fossil Free Tompkins

Joseph Winters, Social Media Coordinator, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

Randy Hayes, Executive Director, Foundation Earth

Mary Shesgreen, Chair, Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice

Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

Jason Miller, Director of Campaigns and Development, Franciscan Action Network

Katharina Maier, Organizer, Fridays for Future USA

Chad Oba, President, Friends of Buckingham

Doug Wellman, President, Friends of Nelson

Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager, Friends of the Earth

Joseph Campbell, President, Gas Free Seneca

Codi Norred, Executive Director, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light

Tara Houska, Founder, Giniw Collective

Fred Akers, Administrator, Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association

Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-Director, Green America

Mike Carberry, Founding Director, Green State Solutions