A few weeks before a controversial oil pipeline was approved for construction in his area, Aitkin County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Cook bought a new assault rifle that cost $725. The purchase was part of an effort to standardize police weaponry, said Cook’s boss, the local sheriff, and was unrelated to the Line 3 pipeline being built by Enbridge. Cook himself, however, told the gun seller that Enbridge could play a role in boosting the agency’s arsenal.

“Our budget took a hit last week, so that’s all we will be ordering for now,” the deputy said in a November 2020 email about his purchase. “I’m hoping the pipeline will give us an extra boost to next year’s budget, which should make it easy for me to propose an upgrade/trade to your rifles rather than a rebuild of our 8 Bushmasters” — a reference to another make of assault rifles.

The email suggests that at least some law enforcement officers…

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