Line 3 updates and images: What will Biden do?

Submitted by Laura Triplett as part of a U.S. District Court filing supporting an injunction against Line 3 construction. (Photo by Alexander Aman, interpretation by Triplett.)

In this blog:

  • Line 3 update and images
  • Next ‘Watch the Line’ monitor training Thursday, Jan. 28
  • In the Dakota language, January is the ‘Hard Moon’

With Keystone XL stopped, attention now shifts to Enbridge Line 3, DAPL

In his first days in office, President Biden revoked a federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta south through the western United States.

Biden now faces pressure to take similar action against Enbridge Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Writing for the New Yorker, 350.org founder Bill McKibben writes about the tension the president faces between pleasing environmental groups who want pipelines stopped and construction unions and their members who want the pipeline jobs.

But perhaps this son of Scranton is uniquely positioned to solve this conundrum. What’s needed is a grand bargain, which replaces fossil-fuel-infrastructure jobs with jobs building solar panels, wind turbines, water pipes that don’t carry lead, and so on. These jobs need to be comparable in terms of pay; there has to be necessary retraining for workers; and someone has to figure out how to allocate this new work to existing unions, so that no one gets left out …

Bill McKibben, New Yorker article

This is the work of what is being called “a just transition” to a new economy.

Here’s McKibben’s closing paragraph:

Biden’s action on Keystone XL couldn’t be more welcome, but it’s cold comfort to the Native Americans camped out along the upper Mississippi trying to block Line 3. That battle looks hard right now, especially because the coronavirus pandemic is preventing people from joining them in large numbers. But the Keystone battle looked impossible at the start. When enough people demand action, vested interest and political convenience have to accommodate them. That’s how change works.

There are several front line Indigenous-led resistance camps organized along the pipeline route with different approaches. Activities range from public education and direct action to camps established for Indigenous people to practice their treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather in areas where Line 3 is being built.

While Line 3 construction has started, the project still faces multiple legal challenges in state and federal court. Line 3 opponents are asking the courts to delay construction until their legal cases are decided.

Sarah LittleRedFeather, working with Honor the Earth, just set up an online petition calling on Biden to stop Line 3 “and invoke a climate test for all pipelines.”

Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, has its identity tied to water. Today, 40 percent of state waters are polluted. Line 3 adds to the risk. It would cross more than 200 water bodies in northern Minnesota, and trench through 79 miles of wetlands.

Photo submitted as part of a federal court filing seeking an injunction against Line 3 construction. Photo by Alexander Aman. Interpretation by Laura Triplett.

Next ‘Watch the Line’ monitor training Thursday, Jan. 28

Watch the Line is a volunteer-run group that is legally monitoring and documenting the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, watching for possible environmental violations.

Line 3 runs some 350 miles across northern Minnesota so it’s always looking for more monitors. The next training session is Thursday, Jan. 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Register here.

Photo taken by Watch the Line volunteer Anne Supplee in St. Louis County, also included in a legal brief seeking an injunction against Line 3 construction.

In the Dakota language, January is the ‘Hard Moon’

I always learn something when I read the Lower Phalen Creek Project’s monthly newsletter. It’s been covering the Dakota words for the various months. January —  Withéȟi wi — is called the hard moon, it says.

It is the coldest and hardest time of the year, when the snow and ice are crusted on the ground. Traditionally, this would be a very hard time for our ancestors, as they often faced harsh winters and famine. Our people survived these hard times by relying on our traditional foods and medicines, like buried corn, dried berries, rice reserves, fish, and wasná — dried pounded buffalo, elk, or deer meat combined with chokecherry patties — letting these gifts sustain and nourish them.

The January newsletter also included the first of a two-part blog series exploring Wakan Tipi, a Dakota phrase meaning “Dwelling Place of the Sacred.” The Lower Phalen Creek Project works to protect, interpret, and honor Wakan Tipi.

The first blog discusses Wakan Tipi from the written record. The second part will provide the oral history from the stories and perspectives of Dakota elders and knowledge keepers.

Wakan Tipi was a place for Dakota ceremony, burial, and annual councils amongst the bands. It was “an ‘intersection point’, or hub of social and religious activity for the Dakota bands of Mni Sota,” the initial blog said.

Jonathan Carver was the first European to visit the cave, and it subsequently became known to settlers as “Carver’s Cave.” That practice ignored the long history and spiritual importance of this place to the Dakota people.

“It is indicative of the erasure of Indigenous Peoples in the United States that we do not find this site again referred to in the Dakota language until 1994,” the blog said.

Just like the recent decision to restore the name Bde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake) to Lake Calhoun, Wakan Tipi is an effort to restore the name and memory of this sacred space.

Check out the Lower Phalen Creek Project’s work and events.

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