August 19, 2021

What is Line 3

Graphic map with dotted line of new proposed Line 3 path
Hold the Line:
Join us in Telling President Biden to Stop Line 3
As a business whose very name embodies our ongoing commitment to leave the planet in better shape than we found it, the Line 3 oil pipeline expansion running from Alberta, CAN through Minnesota and Wisconsin goes against everything Seventh Generation believes.


We realize, though, that if you’re new to this issue, you might have some questions:

  • What is Line 3?
  • Why is it so bad for people and planet?
  • Why should President Biden take executive action to stop it?

We’ve got the answers.

What is Line 3?

Line 3 is a proposed $7.5 billion pipeline expansion to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. Though oil already makes this long, dangerous journey every day, the existing Line 3 is old, corroding, and leaky[1]. The expansion would not only leave the existing line in place to slowly rot in precious Minnesota soil, it would nearly double the line’s capacity. Line 3 poses an environmental and human rights catastrophe that will be felt today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.


What is Tar Sands Oil?

Tar sands is a solid mixture of clay, sand, water, and bitumen (basically solid oil). Since tar sands typically are found underground, they must first be steam heated before being pumped to the surface where they’re refined and then piped over great distances. This process is an absolute nightmare for our climate. In fact, tar sands production “releases three times as much greenhouse gas pollution as conventional crude oil does,[2]” harming fragile ecosystems and putting water supplies and communities at risk.

What’s So Bad about Line 3?

Here’s a breakdown:

  • It makes it harder to DIVEST from fossil fuels. Current and future generations are depending on us to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees[3]. The only way we can achieve this is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Line 3 does the exact opposite.
  • It’s EXPENSIVE. The State of Minnesota calculated the "social cost of carbon”* for a new Line 3 to be $287 billion over the first 30 years[4].
  • It’s bad for AIR. Building Line 3 would be roughly equivalent to building 50 new coal fired power plants[5]
  • It’s bad for WATER. The proposed route of the new Line 3 runs through more than 200 water bodies, 75 miles of wetlands, and shallow aquifers.
  • It’s bad for CROPS. Line 3 passes through Minnesota’s most delicate soils and some of the largest wild rice beds in the world.
  • It’s sure to LEAK. Most pipelines leak eventually. According to a US Department of Transportation study[6], there is a 57% chance of a major spill in any ten year period.
  • It violates TREATIES. The tribal nations and Indigenous peoples in Line 3’s path have said NO to the project, which means its construction violates sacred treaties dating back over 150 years and trampling tribal sovereignty.


*The cost of remediating the carbon released into the atmosphere


What is Being Done to Stop Line 3?

Fortunately, Indigenous communities and their allies on the front lines are standing up and speaking out. Their voices are echoing across the country, inspiring companies, elected officials, and everyday citizens to pay attention and take action. Indigenous communities who live and work in the path of the proposed pipeline, as well as Indigenous-led organizations like Honor the Earth are fighting the project in court and protesting on the ground (more than 600 people have already been arrested[7]). But they need our help to apply the needed pressure to Stop Line 3.

What Can President Biden Do?

Just as he did with the Keystone Pipeline, President Biden can use executive action to immediately halt the construction of Line 3. That’s where we come in. To make sure that President Biden follows through on his commitment to be the climate president, he needs to hear from all of us.


What can You Do?

Add your voice to add your voice to the growing chorus saying it is time to Hold the Line. If we want to create a healthier, more equitable future for the next seven generations, we need to immediately divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy solutions that are better for climate, and honor the unborn generations who will follow us on this planet.


We invite you to stand with us, and all of those who are resisting Line 3—especially those vulnerable frontline communities most directly affected. They’re counting on us. Tell President Biden to stop Line 3 and keep fossil fuels in the ground.