Commerce Offers Rushed and Incomplete Responses to Draft EIS Criticisms

Fifth in a series of critiques of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Enbridge Line 3, a proposal to expand and reroute a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. Commerce is taking public comments on the adequacy of the EIS until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2. To learn how to submit comments, click here.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce got swamped with comments to its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Appendix T of the Final EIS chronicles the hundreds of pages of comments received and the hundreds of pages of the Department’s responses.

The final EIS is inadequate because some of the department’s responses do not adequately address the questions and criticisms raised by the public and government officials. Let’s look at a few examples.

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New Doctrine of Discovery Resources

A couple of Doctrine of Discovery resources came to our inbox, thought I would share them.

The Mennonite Central Committee recently posted a new page on its website titled: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery education resources. It has a streaming movie (43 minutes) titled: Doctrine of Discovery: In the Name of Christ. The movie has three parts: History of the Doctrine of Discovery and its basis in Christian theology and scripture; Living the Doctrine of Discovery (starting at 20:21), and Undoing the Doctrine of Discovery (starting at 29:50). It includes both the United States and international implications of the Doctrine of Discovery.

A group called the Conscious Elders Network put together a list of documents and videos on the Doctrine of Discovery. The site includes fact sheets and short videos (5-8 minutes) by Mark Charles, Orin Lyons and Winona LaDuke.

Ways You Can Support Minnesota Water Protector Camps; Enbridge’s Latest Safety Problem; Island Returned to Grand Portage Anishinaabe

A group called Camps A Rising has created a website to facilitate support for water protector camps in northern Minnesota working to stop the Enbridge Line 3 — a tar sands crude oil pipeline that would threaten our state’s clean rivers and lakes as well as Anishinaabe treaty rights. According to the website, its mission is:

To support peaceful actions that will direct the fossil fuel industry toward proven renewable energy sources. We do this by distributing necessary gear and supplies to established camps of water witnesses and protectors. …

Camps A Rising comes out of the experience of the Standing Rock Water Protectors Camp. We learned that great numbers of people care about the health of our water. The success of that camp is spreading all over the country with new camps establishing coast to coast. As the movement grows, so must the logistics and funding of gear and supplies. With so many additional camps it’s essential resources are managed well.

Camps A Rising is volunteer run, and exists to aid regional Water Protector Camps by collecting and distributing supplies where needed…

The site supports camps in Minnesota and Michigan, including:

Winter is just around the corner and camps will need the cold weather supplies.

Click on the links above for more information and to donate. Remember, there is a rally and march against Line 3 set for Thursday, Sept. 28. The rally starts at the Minnesota Capitol at 4 p.m. The group will march through downtown St. Paul to the Intercontinental Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg, where the Public Utilities Commission will be taking testimony from 6-9 p.m. on Line 3’s Certificate of Need. See you there. Continue reading

Events: Reflections on Standing Rock and “Killers of the Harvest Moon”

Unitarian Social Justice Group to Hear about Work at Standing Rock at Oct. 5 Event

Rev. Karen Van Fossan and her Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Bismarck/Mandan worked to develop a close partnership with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and other Native nations for the duration of the struggle to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline and work for Indigenous sovereignty. She will be the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) annual fundraiser and celebration, Thursday, Oct. 5, 6-8:30 p.m. at First Universalist in Minneapolis, 3400 Dupont Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

It’s a fundraiser, but you invited whether or not you can contribute. All donations are appreciated. The evening is meant to bring together Unitarian Universalists and partners to build relationships, deepen connections, and celebrate everyone’s shared work for justice.

Rev. Karen will reflect on the relationship between healing work and decolonization as spiritual justice practices, the transformative power of deep partnerships across experiences and identities, and the inevitability of making powerful mistakes in the work for powerful change.

At the event, you’ll hear from MUUSJA’s new statewide organizer, Pastor Danny Givens, and enjoy some delicious food and drink from the Sioux Chef.

Click here to RSVP.

Discussions That Encounter Holds “Killers of the Flower Moon” Event About the Theft of Indigenous Lands in Oklahoma

The group Discussions That Encounter will host a conversation about the outrageous theft of Oklahoma oil lands in the 1920s through marriage, murder and the complicity of the white community.  The event is Thursday, September 28 at St. Olaf Church (215 South 8th Street, Minneapolis) in the Forliti  Gathering Room. Supper and social begins at 6:30 p.m. with program from 7-8:30 p.m. All are welcome, free of charge!

Ms. Liz Moore will provide a book review of Killers of the Flower Moon, a documentary of the Osage Nation murders and the birth of the FBI. The book has been described by New York Times author John Grisham as “A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history of the American West.” Ms. Moore will lead us in discussion of the implications for our Native population and for all of us, and does not require that we have read the book. Please join us! (Here is a previous blog on the book.)

Free parking is available in the church lot, enter from South 8th Street or 3rd Avenue just past the church.


Enbridge Tries to Sneak a Line 3 Expansion Through Under the Guise of a Replacement Project

Fourth in a series of critiques of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Enbridge Line 3, a proposal to expand and reroute a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. Commerce is taking public comments on the adequacy of the EIS until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2. To learn how to submit comments, click here.

Enbridge’s proposed tar sands crude oil pipeline expansion has a basic contradiction that never gets addressed in the environmental impact statement. Here are excerpts from the first three paragraphs of the Executive Summary:

Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership … has submitted applications to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission … to construct a new 340-mile, 36-inch-diameter pipeline in northern Minnesota to replace the aging 282-mile, 34-inch Line 3 oil pipeline …

The existing Line 3 pipeline has operated for approximately 50 years. It requires extensive maintenance and is currently restricted to a capacity of 390,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Enbridge’s proposed new 36-inch-diameter pipeline would be capable of carrying up to 760,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil per day, which was the original design capacity of the existing Line 3.
If Enbridge’s goal is to have a pipeline that has the same carrying capacity as the old Line 3, why does it propose using a larger pipeline? It’s no trade secret that a larger pipeline can carry more oil. So let’s look at the Enbridge Line 3 Certificate of Need Application. On page 8-3 it says that the project’s full design capacity is 844,000 barrels a day. That’s an 11 percent increase over the 760,000 barrel a day capacity of the original Line 3.

Keep reading on that same page, and the Certificate of Need application says the “ultimate design capacity for the pipeline considering its diameter, wall thickness, steel grade, and crude slate” is an annual average of 915,000 barrels a day. That’s 20 percent more than the old Line 3.

It seems like a basic question, but the EIS does not address why there is a need for a 36-inch pipeline to maintain the capacity of the old 34-inch pipeline. Further, did the Department of Commerce consider spill analysis scenarios with the higher volume carrying capacities? If it didn’t, then the EIS is inadequate.

It seems like Enbridge is using the old sleight-of-hand, “nothing-up-the-sleeve” bumarooski. On one hand, it talks about this as an “replacement project” but in reality it is a larger pipeline with a larger capacity. Once it gets the state OK, what’s to stop Enbridge from cranking up the volume? The EIS needs to address this.

Lastly, since the final EIS came out, Minnesota Department of Commerce submitted expert testimony from its energy consultants saying there isn’t even a need to replace the capacity from the old pipeline. (See earlier blog: Minnesota Dept. of Commerce: Enbridge Has Not Established Need for the Tar Sands Pipeline; Risks Outweigh Benefits.)

There is no reason for the state to approve this pipeline, and there certainly is no reason to approve a larger pipeline.

The Sioux Chef to Open Riverfront Restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis, Partnering with the Park Board

The Sioux Chef will open a riverfront restaurant and food service venue offering precolonial indigenous foods at the planned public pavilion at Water Works, part of Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis. The new restaurant is a partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

According to a Sept. 18 Park Board announcement:

The Sioux Chef is a diverse, Indigenous-led team committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine and reclaiming an important culinary tradition that has been long buried and often inaccessible. Water Works, a park development project overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, will bring visitor services and recreational and cultural amenities to one of the Minnesota’s most highly visited areas.

The Water Works design includes a park pavilion embedded into the historic remnants of the Bassett and Columbia mills, and expands outdoor gathering spaces with a rooftop patio, outdoor seating plaza, tree-sheltered city steps, playspace for children and families, and an open lawn overlooking the river.

The pavilion will include the new restaurant as well as a public lounge, restrooms and support spaces; a flexible room for small group activities and a Park Board staff desk; and elevator to the rooftop. The restaurant will be the first year-round, full service food venue within the Minneapolis Park System, which is known for seasonal destinations such as Sea Salt. In addition to its full-service venue, The Sioux Chef will also provide casual, counter-service food options.

“Our work within the evolution of the Indigenous food systems offers many opportunities for supportive nutritional and spiritual experiences,” says Dana Thompson, co-owner of The Sioux Chef. “With the removal of colonial ingredients, our plan is to drive economic wealth back into indigenous communities by sourcing food from these growers first. We look forward to sharing and enjoying these diverse and healthy foods with all communities.”

Upcoming Events: Sacred Places, Sacred Stories; Why Water Matters; A Film Premier; An Art Opening; and More

Sacred Places, Sacred Stories: A Reclamation Journey into Healing Justice: Saturday., October 7, starting at noon, to Monday, October 9, at 11:00 a.m.

Each day will be in a different sacred place of resistance and healing. Cost $10-$50. Sponsored by The Center for Sustainable Justice at Lyndale United Church of Christ

As we seek to be spiritually and religiously-rooted people doing the work of justice, it is important to name the realities of what oppression has sought to destroy: our very bodies, the land, our stories. But, too often, we only tell the stories of the death-dealing, the stealing, the destruction and we forget to name and claim the resistance, the healing, the reclamation.

Sacred Places, Sacred Stories: A Reclamation Journey into Healing Justice is an opportunity to both name the context of colonization– of bodies, land and stories– that White Supremacy has wrought and tell the stories of successful healing, resilience and resistance.

Sacred Places, Sacred Stories is planned collaboratively by Black, Native, white, queer, cisgender, straight, Christian, Jewish and traditional activists, artists and storytellers from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis; the Center for Sustainable Justice; Healing Minnesota Stories; the Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice and Social Transformation; and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light. It promises to be an important opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds who wish to learn more powerfully how to be working in spiritually and religiously-rooted ways to bring about embodied justice.

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