Coalition Research Group asks for Independent Panel and Investigation of Line 3 Aquifer Breaches

Anniversary of Enbridge’s Breach of the LaSalle Valley Aquifer
Construction of Enbridge Line 3 caused permanent damage

Bagley, Minnesota, August 3, 2022 – The one-year anniversary of Enbridge’s breach of the LaSalle Valley aquifer at LaSalle Creek is upon us. We memorialize the damage to our water and our water-dependent ecosystems on the breachiversary, taking time with LaSalle Creek, the first waterway to join Mississippi on her trek to the Gulf of Mexico. Dawn Goodwin, Co-Executive Director of R.I.S.E. Coalition, will lead a gathering at Big LaSalle boat launch at 10:30 AM tomorrow. 

Recent investigation by Waadookawaad Amikwag and partners has revealed ongoing construction damage requiring immediate accountability. We are seeking an Independent panel of scientists to study the frac-outs, aquifer breaches, hydraulic disturbances and ecological damages. We urgently need an ecologically-sound strategy for monitoring and/or mitigation.

This work should no longer be entrusted to Enbridge, Barr Engineering, nor state regulators who have continued to downplay the damages.

This video gives a geological explanation of how Enbridge breached the aquifer at LaSalle Valley. Similar breaches happened across northern Minnesota as Enbridge trenched their new tar sands pipeline across 1855 and 1854 Treaty Territories. The video includes an assessment of environmental impacts from the “fix” and shows how professional engineers at Enbridge’s consultant Barr Engineering generated a preventable tragedy here and in multiple locations throughout the Line 3 corridor.

Upwelling in LaSalle Valley near the Aquifer Breach Remediation Area (credit: Heidi Meade)

The damage to wetlands and artesian aquifers was predicted by experts in testimony during the permitting process. Now we’ve seen and documented the damage. Many of the worst predictions by Indigenous leaders, scientists, and citizen water protectors have come to pass. 

How do we know damages continue? 

In November 2021, a high-resolution thermal imaging study done by Waadookawaad Amikwag partners White Earth Reservation, R.I.S.E. Coalition, Honor the Earth, Sierra Club, and MN350 captured detailed evidence of upwelling groundwater. Along the pipeline corridor since then, our partners have ground-truthed multiple aquifer ruptures bleeding artesian groundwater at the surface. We can show how Enbridge has impacted and changed our water-dependent ecosystems.

Our on-the-ground observations, drone video, high-resolution thermal imaging, and water testing show the ongoing damages. There appear to be violations of state and federal law by Enbridge, and possibly their engineering consultants and contractors, and it remains to be seen if anything can be done to stop the uncontrolled flows. We believe that Enbridge may have willfully misrepresented the risks and will not take responsibility unless state and federal regulators force accountability and restitution.

In addition to the animation of the LaSalle aquifer rupture, we are presenting three short videos of our ground-truthing, showcasing our field work and discussing our findings. Additional video resources can be found at our YouTube channel. Contact Waadookawaad Amikwag for use of these documents or images.

Contact Jami Gaither for media inquiries. 317.902.6545 or

Contact Geologist Jeff Broberg for technical questions. 507.273.4961 or and Frank Bibeau, White Earth nation attorney, 218-760-1258

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