News and Events: A rally, a book launch, a river gets ‘personhood’ and more

In this blog:

  • Rally against Line 3, MMIW, at the Governor’s residence Saturday at 1 p.m.
  • Book launch of Seed Keepers, a new novel by Diane Wilson, March 9
  • ‘Memory March’ in Grand Rapids tomorrow (Wednesday) recalling largest inland oil spill in U.S. history
  • Gizmodo: Facebook favors pipeline companies over water protectors
  • LaSalle Valley flyover (two-minute video)
  • Quebec’s Magpie River to be granted legal personhood, a first in Canada
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Red Lake rejected Enbridge financial deal to drop Line 3 lawsuits

A lot of the $56 million offer Enbridge should be doing anyway

Native nations are quite familiar with divide-and-conquer tactics.

The first treaty made in what would become Minnesota happened in 1805, two years after the Louisiana purchase. Lt. Zebulon Pike reported in his journal that two of the seven Dakota leaders present agreed to sell the site that would become Fort Snelling.

Two of seven, and Pike considered it a done deal.

The Star Tribune ran a story Monday on how Enbridge tried to buy off the Red Lake Nation, a key Line 3 opponent, and get it to drop its lawsuit against the project. Red Lake rejected it.

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Near fatal Line 3 accident seems to have been avoidable

Regulators shouldn’t have allowed a pipeline in this area

On Saturday, Feb. 6, a piece of heavy excavating equipment used for the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline corridor broke through the ice in Hubbard County. The operator was trapped in freezing cold water which nearly filled his enclosed cab. He was unable to exit and became hypthermic. A dramatic rescue followed, including the destruction of a beaver dam to drop the water level. The operator survived.

The incident occurred near a wetland by LaSalle Creek in an area known as the LaSalle Valley, located between Itasca State Park and the Mississippi Headwaters.

This problem was foreseeable.

Digging deeper into the story raises questions about whether state regulators were paying enough attention when they approved Line 3’s route through the valley.

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Carlton County Sheriff defends half-mile evacuation zone when electronic devices were thrown into Line 3 work area

Racial profiling, racial fear, seem to be in play

Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-women-led Line 3 frontline resistance camp, got criticized last week following a bomb scare at an Enbridge worksite that turned out to be a false alarm.

Last Monday, Feb. 22, Carlton County received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said today the incident was still under investigation and she couldn’t give many details. “What I can tell you, it was a couple of electronic-type devices that were making audible noises.”

Responding to the incident, Kelly along with other local officials, decided to evacuate the 40 homes within a half-mile radius of the device. She also called in the FBI. The law enforcement response raised community fears and generated ill-will towards the camp. The Fond du Lac Band government said the incident “created widespread public safety concerns.”

A truck bomb with a half-ton of TNT wouldn’t have required such a large evacuation area, according to federal data. Local law enforcement’s response seemed like a major overreaction. Lake defended her decision.

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Screening and panel discussion on Doctrine of Discovery film Sunday and other news

In this blog:

  • Free online screening and panel discussion of the “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code,” Sunday
  • Exxon writes off Canadian tar sands oil reserves, one more reason to Stop Line 3
  • Call senators Klobuchar and Smith and ask them to Stop Line
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Day of Prayer at George Floyd Square

Decades of frustration over lack of police accountability

In this blog:

  • George Floyd Square supporters: City has failed to hold police accountable, respond to demands
  • “No Justice, No Streets” yard signs available
  • Zoom conference Tuesday, March 2: Seeking justice, caring for community
  • Day of Prayer at George Floyd Square March 8, when trial starts
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Two Line 3 workers arrested for soliciting sex as part of human trafficking sting

The Duluth News Tribune reported Tuesday that two of the seven people arrested in a northern Minnesota human trafficking sting were Enbridge Line 3 workers, “fueling concern that construction of the oil pipeline is bringing a higher risk of sex crimes to the area.”

Arrested were:

  • Michael Kelly West, 53, of Rolla, Missouri, who was charged with one count of carrying a pistol without a permit and one count of solicitation to engage in prostitution.
  • Matthew Ty Hall, 33, of Mount Pleasant, Texas, who was charged with one count of solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.

The sting involved web ads that engaged potential customers in sex-for-money conversations, the story said. Perhaps of most concern, West told arresting officers he heard about the ads “from rumors at work.”

That means this isn’t an isolated incident; other workers are talking about it.

[Update: StarTribune story here.]

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Proposed legislation to waive building codes for traditional Dakota earthlodges, and other news

In this blog:

  • Legislation would waive building codes, allow traditional Dakota structures
  • Buddhists and friends invited to Water Protectors Welcome Center Feb. 28
  • Civil Rights arm of the bar association links environmental racism to higher pandemic rates and other harms
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Line 3: Don’t be distracted from the true danger

Screen grab of Unicorn Riot’s feed showing part of Friday’s protest.

Friday’s bomb scare in Carlton County will be used by some to make water protectors seem dangerous, shifting attention away from real dangers posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Water protectors were demonstrating against Line 3 in Carlton County Friday. As the event was happening, the county received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

The county’s response was quick and perhaps excessive. It called in the bomb squad. Law enforcement evacuated 40 nearby residences within a half-mile radius of the device. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake called in regional and federal law enforcement. She’s calling for maximum charges and penalties.

There was no bomb. Still, placing a “replica device” that causes fear and panic is a crime.

The incident occurred near Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-led frontline resistance camp, but the protests that day were several miles away from where the incident occurred.

There’s been no information released that ties the incident to Camp Migizi or the protest. There have been no arrests. Yet without evidence, Enbridge and others are blaming water protectors.

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