DULUTH – A group calling itself the Indigenous Pipeline Council carried out an extensive hoax over the weekend, holding a news conference about bringing an oil pipeline through Duluth only to send a news release posing as Enbridge condemning the proposal.
"It's completely fake. It's a hoax," Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner said. "They sent a fake news release from Enbridge, they sent a fake news release from themselves."
On Saturday, two members of the group calling themselves Carl Iron Eyes and Coyote Mick Tomi — actually indigenous activists Gitz Crazyboy and Tito Ybarra — held a news conference in Duluth announcing a pipeline route that "cuts a jagged but efficient path through golf courses, cemeteries and neighborhoods" in an apparent protest of the Line 3 pipeline.
"It ensures that those who share in the wealth from oil production and transport also share in the risk," said Tomi.
He and Iron Eyes, wearing suits and ties with American flags on their shirts, gave a deadpan delivery of their tongue-in-cheek proposal, according to a video of the event.
"The IPC has a program to relocate residents to a beautiful parcel of land on the other side of Morgan Park, with free medical services and ample leisure opportunities," Iron Eyes said.
When reached by the Star Tribune on Monday, the pair did not break character and said they had already "successfully and respectfully removed some remains" in the fake project's right of way.
Monday night, prank organizers the Yes Men came clean with their role in the stunt alongside groups Honor the Earth and Stop Line 3.
"It's hard to imagine that a pipeline as bad as the IPC's could exist, but it's actually close to the truth, just in reverse," said Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth.
The actual proposed Line 3 replacement would travel 330 miles across Minnesota, bringing 760,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to in Superior, Wis.