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Horseback riders protest Enbridge pipeline

Marty Cobenais, pipeline organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network; Winona LaDuke, American Indian activist and executive director of Honor the Earth; and Lorna Hanes ride horses Sunday afternoon on the Enbridge pipeline right-of-way south of Oliver, Wis. They hope to draw attention to the expansion of the Alberta Clipper pipeline that would bring additional tar sands from Alberta through the Northland region’s lines.

A group of Anishinaabe horseback riders launched a protest in the shadow of Enbridge Energy’s Superior refinery Sunday against the company’s proposed Alberta Clipper Pipeline.

If approved and constructed, the pipeline would become North America’s largest conduit for bitumen from Alberta’s tar sand formations. The project would boost the capacity of an existing line from 450,000 to 570,000 barrels per day.

Yet protestors expressed concerns about potential damage the new line could cause, citing a 2012 50,000-gallon spill from an Enbridge line in Grand Marsh, Wis., and an 843,000-gallon spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010.

“Enbridge should clean up its old mess before it tries to make a new one,” Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, the group engaged in the protest, said in a statement. A nationally known American Indian activist, LaDuke was one of the riders.

A call by the News Tribune to Enbridge Energy’s offices in Superior requesting comment was unreturned Sunday.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is deliberating Enbridge’s petition for a certificate of need for the project.

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