Sheriff must stop blocking property used by pipeline foes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota district judge has issued a temporary restraining ordered against the Hubbard County sheriff, ruling that the county must stop obstructing access to a property used by opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project.

The Star Tribune reports Winona LaDuke and Tara Houska, two leaders of protests against the oil pipeline, recently sued Hubbard County and Sheriff Cory Aukes for repeatedly blocking a driveway to a home near Menahga in north-central Minnesota.

The property is one of several camps near the pipeline route used by “water protectors,” as Line 3 protesters call themselves.

Houska, the house’s tenant and caretaker, and LaDuke say that on June 28, Sheriff’s Office squad cars arrived at the home, and its occupants were told their driveway would soon be “barricaded.” Sheriffs’ deputies have continued to obstruct access to the property, the lawsuit said.

Austad ordered the authorities to stop “barricading, obstructing or otherwise interfering with access to the property.” Deputies also must stop issuing citations or arresting people for their presence on the driveway unless they have a valid warrant.

Aukes said he will appeal the judge’s order and that deputies “are not blocking” the driveway.