Line 3 protesters chain themselves together in piece of pipe

BACKUS, Minn. (AP) — Two people accused of chaining themselves together inside a piece of pipe to protest construction of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline replacement in northern Minnesota were arrested Thursday morning, authorities said.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch said the incident took place about 10:30 a.m. in McKinley Township, west of the town of Backus. He said the protesters were taken into custody without incident and face charges of trespassing and obstructing.

About a dozen protesters showed up at the site. One man was arrested for refusing to leave the area and one woman was arrested for violating conditions of release on a previous arrest, Burch said.

Line 3 starts in Alberta, Canada, and clips a corner of North Dakota before crossing northern Minnesota en route to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The 337-mile (542-kilometer) line in Minnesota is the last step in replacing the deteriorating pipeline that was built in the 1960s.

Construction on Thursday morning was interrupted “for about an hour or two,” Burch said.

“I can’t emphasize enough how respectful the protesters are,” Burch said. “It makes everybody’s job and this whole issue a lot easier.”