Seven women were arrested while standing their ground Monday afternoon in front of pending Enbridge Line 3 replacement near the Shell River in Wadena County.

Among those women was Honor the Earth Executive Director Winona LaDuke. She along with three other women were booked into the Wadena County Jail for trespassing on critical public service facilities and refusing to leave upon demand. The other women booked into the jail Monday night included Mary K. Klein; Patricia J. Weber; and Barbara L. With.

Honor the Earth Executive Director Winona LaDuke was arrested Monday, July 19, 2021, and booked into Wadena County Jail for trespassing and refusal to leave upon demand.
Image courtesy Wadena County Sheriff's Office
Honor the Earth Executive Director Winona LaDuke was arrested Monday, July 19, 2021, and booked into Wadena County Jail for trespassing and refusal to leave upon demand. Image courtesy Wadena County Sheriff's Office

A new release from Honor the Earth on Monday indicated that seven women were arrested on scene of the Line 3 oil pipeline right of way. It stated that the women were sitting at the river crossing "in peaceful prayer to oppose the construction of Line 3."

Protestors brought concerns over the water extraction occuring along the construction project at a time where the region has entered a severe drought stage and river levels have dropped to minimal flows in areas of northern Minnesota.

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Last week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources suspended the use of some water sources due to low water flow in specific watersheds. Enbridge prepared for water restrictions to come into effect and adjusted their work plans to protect and conserve water, according to Juli Kellner, a communications specialist with Enbridge.

“The current drought conditions in Minnesota are concerning to everyone. Our project permits include conditions that protect the environment during construction and specifically wild rice waters,” said Barry Simonson Director of Mainline Construction for Line 3. “We are focused on protecting and conserving water, and continue to work with agencies on next steps.” Simonson added, “It’s worth noting that our pipelines have coexisted with some of the country’s most productive wild rice waters for seven decades.”

The Line 3 replacement project is already over 70% complete in Minnesota. This includes horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at over a dozen sites. During pipeline construction, where the water table is high, sometimes Enbridge will temporarily remove standing water from an open trench to ensure worker safety. Water is pumped out of the trench, filtered, collected nearby and then gradually released back to the ground, per strict environmental permits and regulations.

Replacement work is complete in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The project is on track to be complete and in service by the fourth quarter of 2021.