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Demonstrators across from Marathon protest against pipeline

Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s involvement in a proposed pipeline in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin was protested by about 20 people today on Main Street.

The proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline could have spills, damaging drinking water and crops in the region, said Winona LaDuke, of White Earth Reservation, Minnesota. Marathon has a 30 percent ownership interest in the pipeline to be built by Enbridge.

“Our tribe (grows) the best wild rice in the whole world,” LaDuke said. The pipeline would go through “our best wild rice territory.”

Protestors came from Minnesota, Detroit, Toledo, Yellow Springs and Dayton.

“We would like to ask the Marathon company to withdraw from the Sandpiper project. That’s why we’re here,” LaDuke said.

Protestors seemed to have the wind taken out of their sails when they arrived to learn they could not walk the sidewalk along the front of Marathon. The protest did not last long.

Marathon obtained a permit to keep people off the sidewalk in front of its building today, the day of its annual shareholders meeting.

Protestors marched for a while on other sidewalk areas along Main Street between Hardin and Sandusky streets.

Marathon said it obtained the permit out of safety concerns, since its new building and parking garage nearby are still under construction.

“Marathon Petroleum Corp. fully supports the protestors’ right to lawfully make their opinions known,” Marathon stated. Marathon “is committed to the health and safety of its employees and the public, as well as to being responsible stewards of the environment.”

“Consistent with our commitment to safety, we appreciate the understanding of our employees, our shareholders attending the meeting today, and the protestors, given that our office complex is an active construction site at this time,” the company stated. “To help ensure everyone’s safety, access to the complex and surrounding areas is being controlled.

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