Part III of a series looking at Ojibwe Band responses to Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s report and recommendations on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. [Note: Ojibwe is the colonial name for the Anishinaabe. Ojibwe is used in this story because of its use as an official band name.]
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s offered a unique response among the various Ojibwe bands to Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly’s report on the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline.
While other bands tended to focus on treaty rights, the Mille Lacs Band led with a strong argument on the economic reasons to deny Line 3. The Mille Lacs Band said: “THE EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD DOES NOT SUPPORT A NEED FOR THE PROJECT.”
O’Reilly’s report, and Mille Lacs response, were sent to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the body expected to vote on Line 3 in late June. The PUC will vote on Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit. The Mille Lacs letter addresses both issues.
Reject Certificate of Need Based on Enbridge’s Flawed Data
The Mille Lacs Band’s letter highlighted O’Reilly’s comments on Enbridge’s “materially flawed” analysis on the need for the pipeline. It reiterated O’Reilly’s criticism of Enbridge’s analysis for focusing on crude oil supply rather than future oil prices or oil demand.
Ultimately, O’Reilly concludes that because Enbridge’s customers cannot ship all the crude that they would like, that demonstrates that there is demand for transportation of oil. “This, however, is not the question asked by the rules which direct the Commission to evaluate the accuracy of [Enbridge’s] forecast of demand … Demand for transportation does not demonstrate that there is an unmet demand for crude oil. In fact, the evidence in the record shows that refineries are obtaining the oil they need.”
Reject Enbribge’s Preferred Route
The Mille Lacs letter reinforces O’Reilly’s findings rejecting Enbridge’s preferred route. It states:
The [Administrative Law Judge] correctly concludes that the risks associated with creating a new pipeline corridor in … Minnesota far outweigh any claimed need for the Project. The route proposed by [Enbridge]would impact thousands of acres of sensitive natural resources and would have a disproportionate and adverse impact on tribal communities from an environmental, socio-economic, and environmental justice perspective. Thus, even if [Enbridge] has demonstrated some need for the Project, [Enbridge’s] Preferred Route cannot be chosen because it fails to minimize the human and environmental impact of the pipeline.