About 40 people gathered Monday outside the Athens County Courthouse for a protest against the construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline in Minnesota. 

Members of the Athens County Future Action Network, or ACFAN, and Ohio Youth for Climate Change Justice, or OHYCJ, led this rally to inform the Athens community of the detrimental effects of the pipeline.

The pipeline violates indigenous treaty rights, is the target of Indigenous legal appeals and is destroying wild rice lakes, according to a release from ACFAN and OHYCJ.

The rally consisted of multiple speakers, including Cusi Ballew, a Millfield resident and member of the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi Nation. Following the speeches, members delivered letters to Chase Bank, who is funding the pipeline, according to the release.

“There's money being lent by Chase Bank that's just been announced, $800 million, and they call it a sustainability loan. What's sustainable about fossil fuels? Total greenwashing,” Heather Cantino, ACFAN steering committee chair, said. “And they, Chase Bank, has put $2 billion into Enbridge, the company that owns this pipeline.”

Julia Weber, Athens High School senior and member of the Ohio Youth for Climate Justice, said the planning for the rally was a community process.

“I was just brought on during the first planning meeting where we kind of decided the specifics, how many speakers we wanted and what we wanted to focus on and what the action steps were gonna be,” Weber said. “So that was kind of a community process with all of the different organizers.”

Weber said she became involved with this rally because she felt a moral obligation.

“I feel a sense of obligation as someone who lives on this planet,” Weber said. “It's my moral obligation as a person to stand up and stand with those who are being affected now and will continue to be affected — in order to protect our future.” 

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