The victory over the pipeline is a momentous one for New Yorkers and demonstrates the unequivocal power of grassroots climate activism in the state, which outmuscled every corporate effort to convince the public that the project was in its interests. Those efforts were considerable and largely unethical and included an illegal gas moratorium, efforts to link the pipeline to the fate of a $1.4 billion development project, National Grid’s unethical lobbying of its own ratepayers, the manipulation of NYCHA residents, a dubious report asserting the climate benefits of the pipeline, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on ads, and, most recently, two 100-page reports doubling down on the utility’s claims that more fracked gas infrastructure was needed because of a gas shortage.
The fight for self-governance on White Earth: The Line 3 pipeline will bring tar sands oil — the worst kind of dirty fossil fuel — from Canada through the United States. It will pass through over 40 wild rice watersheds and at least eight waterways, which are a traditional source of food for the indigenous Ojibwe people. This pipeline entangles us even more in an energy system that is destroying the climate, at a time in history when we should shift to a carbon-neutral energy system and economy. LN3 is exactly the opposite of what is needed in a world challenged by a climate emergency. To me, it seems possible that White Earth will be one of the next major pipeline resistance campaigns, like Standing Rock in nearby North Dakota. The situation at White Earth is different than Standing Rock, but the struggle in Minnesota has the potential to bring different native communities together with allies in a broad mobilization of water protectors like the #NODAPL movement did.
On March 27, 13 defendants went into the west Roxbury District courthouse to answer charges related to their arrests protesting the West Roxbury Massachusetts Lateral Pipeline. They expected to have charges against them reduced to civil infractions — the equivalent of a parking ticket. While finding no grounds to deny that motion from the prosecution, the judge chose to let each defendant testify briefly on the necessity of their actions. The defendants collectively presented a powerful and comprehensive argument for why they had a necessity to engage in civil disobedience to stop the imminent local and global harms of this fracked gas pipeline. Following their testimony, the judge acquitted ALL the defendants by reason of necessity.