An Enbridge spokesperson tells KBJR 6 it is unfortunate a public hearing at the DECC, held by the Public Utilities Commission, was cut short Wednesday night in Duluth due to protesters.
The final hearing of the night, giving supporters and opponents of Enbridge's proposed Line 3 pipeline the chance to weigh in on the controversial project, was cut short as protesters made an effort to get their voices heard.
A woman who was protesting calls herself a water protector and says many shut down the public hearing with drum and prayer, saying that is what they hope to do with the pipeline in Minnesota.
The Enbridge spokesperson says the meeting was dispersed relatively quickly.
The protester tells us that the judge was one of the last to leave the meeting.
Nokomis Debra Topping who calls herself a water protector said the following:
Have you heard us now? Is this loud and clear? Shut it down with the drum and prayer.
Here is Enbridge's statement on Wednesday's Duluth administrative law judge hearing:
Enbridge denounces the intimidating and disrespectful actions used tonight to disrupt an event where hundreds of people were attending a public hearing in Duluth. All people need to feel safe at meetings like these so they can come express their opinions on any project.
Minnesotans pride themselves on being able to have respectful conversations about complex matters in a way that allows all voices to be heard. Tonight in Duluth, one extremist group hijacked the entire meeting with unprovoked, aggressive action in an attempt to make panelists and attendees afraid. This is unacceptable.
We hope the remaining public meetings on Line 3 will allow for respectful discussion and sharing of opinions without violence and intimidation.
Here is Jobs for Minnesotans response to what they call "unwarranted extremist behavior at Duluth public hearing on Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project":
Jobs for Minnesotans is appalled at the blatant display of extremist behavior at tonight’s Line 3 Replacement Project public hearing at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The intent of the public hearing was to listen to the views of Minnesotans, and aggressive actions by a group of individuals made it impossible for members of the public, including many of our members, to participate in this important public process and share their views.
Tonight’s display of intimidation tactics jeopardized the integrity of the regulatory process and made it unsafe for people to remain in the room. This is not the type of behavior that we expect from our fellow Minnesotans. This was not passion, it was aggression. It is never permissible to shutter a public process through unprovoked hostile actions that cause people to be afraid for their well-being.
With the remaining meetings on the Line 3 Replacement Project scheduled for next week, we hope there still will be the opportunity for the respectful discourse of opinions without threats and violence.
Honor the Earth also issued a statement following the interruption of Wednesday night's public hearing:
"For five years, the ?Anishinabe? ??have been working very hard to use a process we do not trust. We all feel like we have been staring down the barrel of a pipeline coming toward our territories. It's all we have left. Honor ?the Earth ?remains hopeful and committed to trying to make the state process work as an interven?er against this pipeline, and in working with tribal government to create an Anishinabe assessment that addresses the major inadequacies of the state's EIS. We would like peace, and urge the state not to issue the permit."