Gov. Tim Walz administration is reconsidering the state’s role in a lawsuit to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline, according to a MinnPost story.
Under Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the Minnesota Department of Commerce opposed approving Line 3, saying Enbridge had not proved the pipeline was needed. (Line 3 will cross 330-plus miles of northern Minnesota, threatening the environment and treaty rights.) The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the project last year and Commerce sued in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, asking it to overturn the PUC’s decision.
It remains unclear if the Walz administration will continue the legal challenge or not.
The MinnPost story quotes Steve Kelly, the newly appointed Commissioner of Commerce, saying Walz had asked his department to “take another look.”
In related news, Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan are hosting an inaugural event called the One Minnesota Party on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, from 7:30-11 p.m.
MN350 and other pipeline resisters cordially invite you to attend the inaugural fete with a smile on your face, a “Water is Life” sticker on your shoulder, and a willingness to share your story about why you care so much about stopping Line 3 — in a positive, values-based way. It’s a chance to tell that story to the elected officials, policy makers, and regular citizens, all mingling in the same room.
The Walz/Flanagan invitation is free and open to the public but you need a ticket. Click here to get one.
(As an aside, for an event titled “One Minnesota,” it’s disappointing to see on the event website: “Semi-formal attire is requested.” That means suit and tie or evening dress attire. There are people who can’t afford semi-formal stuff and making that request only seems to accent economic differences, and doesn’t seem to fit with Walz’s plaid-shirt campaigning style.)
Tar Sands Mining Does Great Harm We Don’t See
Those of us opposing Enbridge Line 3 are also aware that Line 3 is just one of several pipeline projects, and they all are doing great harm. We need to remember to hold up the stories of the First Nations People of Canada where the mining takes place.
Many people never hear these stories. As a state and nation, our support of Enbridge Line 3 and any other tar sands crude oil pipeline makes us complicit with the harm done.
According to the Canadian government report,”About 23,000 Indigenous peoples from 18 First Nations and 6 Métis settlements live in the oil sands region in northeast Alberta.” A Pembina Institute report raises concerns about water pollution to the Athabasca River and human health impacts of tar sands mining, including significant increases in cancer rates.
Other First Nations peoples are opposing the construction of new pipelines across their lands, both fracked gas pipelines and tar sands crude oil pipelines. Consider the stories now emerging from the Unis’tot’en Camp in British Columbia. According to the campaign’s website, “the Unis’tot’en traditional territory remains relatively intact. The forests are still there, wildlife prospers, and the water is still pure. To enforce the decision to preserve the territory for future generations, a cabin was built in the exact place where Trans-Canada, Enbridge, and Pacific Trails want to lay pipelines.”
According to their website:
[On Jan. 7, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and military forcefully breached a peaceful checkpoint on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Indigenous people were ripped from their homes by militarized police. There were at least 12 confirmed arrests, including an elder, and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were blocked from their own territories. Gidumt’en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham was arrested on her land. She, along with other arrestees, will not be released. They are being brought to Prince George to stand before a Justice of the Peace….
The RCMP have now installed a roadblock on the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) Road, through Gidumt’en territory and the only access road to Unist’ot’en Camp, effectively cutting off communications, media, and supplies to those living there, including clients of the Healing Center.
Sounds a lot like Standing Rock, without the media attention. Here’s one exception, a report from Democracy Now.