PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- Opponents of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline project in northwestern Minnesota continued their protests this week by disrupting traffic in front of an Enbridge equipment site, leading to 31 arrests.
Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said the incident began about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when a van pulled in front of the semitrailer and forced it to stop on a county highway. One woman crawled under the semi and attached herself to the rear axle and another person clipped on to an item on top of the trailer, Aukes said.
Several carloads of protesters arrived and gathered on the side of the roadway, at which point Aukes said they were told by deputies they were breaking Minnesota's public nuisance and unlawful assembly laws. Aukes said deputies began arresting demonstrators after they began “yelling vulgarities, being a traffic hazard, and refusing to leave.”
The protesters were brought to the Hubbard County Jail, where they were charged with public nuisance, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct, Aukes said.
At least 1,000 activists from across the country gathered at construction sites near the headwaters of the Mississippi River last week. Nearly 250 people were arrested.
The Line 3 replacement would carry Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The project is nearly done except for the Minnesota leg, which is about 60% complete.