U.S. Christians need to reckon with white supremacy, and other articles

In this blog:

  • NPR: Author: American Christianity must reckon with legacy of white supremacy
  • The Intercept: Acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to subvert, end treaty rights
  • LittleSis: Fossil Fuel Industry Pollutes Black & Brown Communities While Propping Up Racist Policing

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Unelected Charter Commission poses a structural barrier to systemic changes in Minneapolis policing

It’s been two months since the Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, a black man, sparking protests locally, nationally, and around the world.

This moment felt different. Black Lives Matter was getting broader community support. More people seemed open to a structural overhaul in Minneapolis policing. Minneapolis City Council members responded, approving a plan to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) as a free-standing entity. It would replace it with a new Minneapolis Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which could include police officers as part of its operations.

Now, the irresistible force of community demands hit the immovable object of political process. The hope for big change is teetering in the balance.

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Legislators tell MPCA to reject Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, MN Dept. of Commerce needs to refile Line 3 appeal

File: MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop.

Thirty-four state lawmakers submitted a letter to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner Laura Bishop Wednesday, urging action to deny the Enbridge the environmental certificate it needs to build the Line 3 pipeline expansion.

Line 3 threatens our state’s clean waters, our climate, and treaty rights, they said.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Commerce faces an Aug. 19 deadline to refile its legal objections to Line 3. Commerce’s independent analysis shows that Enbridge failed to prove this pipeline is needed. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the project over Commerce’s objections. Commerce now needs to take the issue to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Recent news from the Canadian tar sands region strengthens Commerce’s hand. It shows the industry is tanking, meaning there’s even less demand for Enbridge’s new pipeline.

Action by the MPCA and the Department of Commerce could help stop this dangerous project.

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This Day in History, July 29, 1837: First major swindle of Ojibwe, Dakota lands in what would become Minnesota

On this day in history, July 29, 1837, the Ojibwe and Dakota signed the first treaties ceding significant amounts of their land to the U.S. government in what would become the state of Minnesota. White businessmen got the better end of the deals. Continue reading

Legislative Auditor Report: PUC has done “poor job” in public engagement

Winona LaDuke: ‘PUC has a systemic blind spot in dealing with Native tribes’

Sierra Club: ‘A bad process leads to bad outcomes’

PUC: ‘Improved public engagement is a priority’

The Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor released a report today critical of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and its public engagement process. The PUC has done a “poor job” in helping the public engage in its complex review process, it said. Specifically, the PUC was “not adequately prepared” for engaging the public during the controversial Enbridge Line 3 pipeline hearings.

The report makes a number of recommendations, such as directing PUC leadership “to provide more oversight of the agency’s public participation processes” and to “better prepare for cases with significant public interest.” (Summary here.)

The 98-page report disappoints in one aspect: It fails to clearly call out that, at least in the case of the Line 3 hearings, the PUC’s public engagement failures focused on Line 3 opponents. The report doesn’t explicitly name staff bias as a problem that needs addressing, and it does.

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Sign DAPL, Keystone XL eviction notices; Chocktaw chief will help redesign Mississippi state flag, and more

In this blog:

  • Sign eviction notice for Dakota Access, Keystone XL pipelines
  • Lakota People’s Law Project: Return Mount Rushmore
  • Choctaw chief chosen to help redesign Mississippi state flag
  • Cherokee Nation adopted racism from Europeans. It’s time to reject it.

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Regulators need to increase trespass fines against pipeline companies, and other pipeline news

With oil pipeline companies brazenly flaunting trespass laws, you have to wonder whether the penalties are just too low. Perhaps it’s cheaper for them to break the law and pay the fines than the cost of taking the time to follow the law.

Recent trespass cases involving the Tesoro High Plains Pipeline in North Dakota and the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana raise the question of whether pipeline penalties are too lax.

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Sierra Club commits to truth telling about its racist past, elevate voices of people of color within the organization

The Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, announced today that it was in the process of truth telling about the organization’s racist past, making plans to take down or reinterpret monuments to early Club leaders, and making institutional changes that reflect its commitment to racial justice. Continue reading

Environmental groups are embracing racial justice as central to their work

The environmental movement has been evolving for a century; in its latest advancement, some environmental groups are taking on racial justice as essential to their mission.

The environmental movement encompasses a broad sweep of organizations and strategies, but even a mainstream group such as the Sierra Club is centering racial justice. A recent article by Hop Hopkins, the Sierra Club’s national director of strategic partnership, put it this way:

I really believe in my heart of hearts—after a lifetime of thinking and talking about these issues—that we will never survive the climate crisis without ending white supremacy.

Here’s why: You can’t have climate change without sacrifice zones, and you can’t have sacrifice zones without disposable people, and you can’t have disposable people without racism.

We’re in this global environmental mess because we have declared parts of our planet to be disposable. The watersheds where we frack the earth to extract gas are considered disposable. The neighborhoods near where I live in Los Angeles, surrounded by urban oilfields, are considered disposable. The very atmosphere is considered disposable. When we pollute the hell out of a place, that’s a way of saying that the place—and the people and all the other life that calls that place home—are of no value.

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