Line 3 stirs lobbying effort

ST. PAUL (AP) — Faith leaders gathered at the Capitol on Friday to urge Gov. Tim Walz to oppose Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement, while a mostly Republican group of lawmakers urged him to let the disputed project move forward.

Around 100 clergy and laypeople connected with Interfaith Power and Light prayed in the governor’s ornate reception room and presented staffers with offerings of wild rice for Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. An Ojibwe elder led the group in a traditional water ceremony.

“As spiritually rooted people, as people of faith and moral conviction, we are gathered to say no to that which threatens the water and our lives,” said the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, director of the Center for Sustainable Justice, a ministry of Lyndale United Church of Christ in Minneapolis.

Deputy Chief of Staff Kristin Beckmann welcomed them and said she would convey their concerns.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and 75 other lawmakers wrote to the new Democratic governor, urging him to drop a legal challenge that began under Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. The lone Democratic signatory was Iron Range Sen. David Tomassoni.

Line 3 carries Canadian crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the 1960s era pipeline because its maintenance needs are accelerating and it now can run at only about half its original capacity. The route crosses lands where Ojibwe tribes claim treaty rights.