Enbridge, the Canadian energy company behind Line 3, claims it is merely replacing a 60-year-old pipeline that is likely to corrode and leak if it isn’t updated. But opponents see the plan as an expansion of it, because it will carry twice the amount of oil. Houska says Line 3 violates Anishinaabe rights granted under the 1837 White Pine Treaty by endangering wild rice, a plant unique to the region and sacred to her tribe. The pipeline faces legal challenges from tribes, environmental groups, and even the Minnesota Department of Commerce, all of which say the environmental risks far exceed the need for additional oil.
Tara Houska is no amateur when it comes to pipeline resistance. The attorney and member of the Couchiching First Nation set up camp at Standing Rock and stood with Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrators for six months, providing legal aid to anyone facing charges.