Environmental Activist Winona LaDuke Compares Pipeline to Auschwitz, Workers to Executioners

Honor the Earth Executive Director Winona LaDuke allegedly tried to silence a former employee who was sexually harassed by a coworker “credibly accused” of molesting young boys.

Enbridge’s Line 3 project – which replaces an existing, aging oil pipeline – received key permits this past week from Minnesota regulators in a major step towards construction. The Line 3 replacement project is expected to support about 8,600 jobs in Minnesota over a two-year period and provide a $2 billion boost to Minnesota’s economy during that period. While this is certainly a win for Minnesotans, the state’s economy, and our nation’s energy security, it seems not everyone is as excited about this step forward.

Winona LaDuke, a Native American activist who leads the environmental group Honor the Earth, recently expressed her opposition to the Line 3 project and other energy infrastructure development in an interview with a Twin Cities PBS affiliate, alleging that Line 3 is the “ecological equivalent to Auschwitz” and compared individuals looking to make an income by working on pipeline projects to “getting a job in the gas chamber.”

This isn’t the first time pipeline opponents took to comparing pipeline workers to Nazis. Last year, Pennsylvania state legislator Danielle Friel Otten likened skilled union tradesmen working on the Mariner East pipeline to Nazis, saying “[they] were just doing their jobs too.”

Insensitive and misguided attacks like those from LaDuke and Friel Otten have no place in the debate over energy infrastructure. Yet, as columnist Rob Port recently pointed out, the two reporters interviewing her didn’t even question or challenge her outrageously inappropriate comparison, the latest example of the “utterly biased coverage anti-pipeline activists typically enjoy from the news media.”