In this blog:
- Walz listens more to law enforcement’s Line 3 concerns than the Stop Line 3 Coalition
- Enbridge’s Public Safety Escrow Account seems to have co-opted law enforcement to serve as Enbridge’s private security
- MN county sheriffs lobbied for friendly Line 3 Public Safety Escrow Account manager
- U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says there are better uses for pipelines than carrying tar sands oil
- Pipeline private security firm gets lax oversight compared to water protector scrutiny
- Internationally, mining projects use private security for blackmail, spying, threats against the opposition
- New Byhalia pipeline route would cut through predominantly African American neighborhoods in Memphis
Walz listens more to law enforcement’s Line 3 concerns than the Stop Line 3 Coalition
The Stop Line 3 Coalition has gotten all of about 30 minutes to talk to Gov. Tim Walz about the many reasons members oppose the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. He gave county sheriffs three hours, or six times more, according to public documents release by The Intercept.
The Intercept released a Sept. 30 email from Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake to other county sheriffs concerned about Line 3, as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.
Gov. Walz has set aside time in his schedule from 2 pm to 5 pm this Friday October 2nd for individual phone calls with the Northern Lights Task Force Sheriffs and Chief Petite as you either have Line 3 going directly through your jurisdiction or already have been significantly affected by activities surrounding Line 3. He wants to hear your thoughts regarding planning, what needs you have identified, what assistance you need from him, the State, etc. …
Right now, he has scheduled approximately 10 minutes per call.
Gov. Walz has tried to straddle the fence and avoid taking a position on Line 3. His decisions about who he listens to speaks volumes.
It’s confusing. His Line 3 actions seem to fly in the face of his commitment to address climate change and engage in meaningful consultation with Native nations.
Line 3’s Public Safety Escrow Account seems to have co-opted law enforcement to serve as Enbridge private security
The StarTribune reported that Enbridge has spent $750,000 reimbursing local law enforcement for wages, equipment, and responses to water protector civil disobedience opposing Enbridge Line 3. (It’s playing catch up with the alternative media.)
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) required Enbridge to fund a Public Safety Escrow Account to reimburse local law enforcement for Line 3-related expenses. It was to be run by an independent third-party manager. The article raised questions whether Enbridge’s funding of law enforcement would bias policing decisions.
The article quoted Winona LaDuke, co-founder of Honor the Earth saying: “You have a foreign company funding the police in northern Minnesota and incentivizing the repression of citizens. … They basically have taken your police force and turned it into their security force.”
Water protectors plan to sue some county sheriffs offices for harassing them, including strip searches, the story said. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who will lead the litigation, said the money flowing into these county sheriff’s offices from the escrow account incentivizes such behavior.
Enbridge tries to curry favor with MN county sheriffs in management of Line 3 Public Safety Escrow Account
As Enbridge Line 3 construction loomed last year, Minnesota county sheriffs worried about who the PUC would appoint to make decisions about their reimbursement requests for Line 3-related expenses, the Intercept reported. They began an email chain amongst themselves to make sure that whoever got selected was someone the sheriffs could agree on.
The following line from the Intercept story is very telling, citing an email chain it obtained between Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida and other sheriffs in northern Minnesota obtained by The Intercept.
“I had a discussion with Troy Kirby (Enbridge Chief of Security) this morning, and expressed concern over that position and the escrow account,” Guida wrote. “He indicated they have some influence on the hiring of that positon [sic] and he would be involved to ensure we are taken care of, one way or another.”
PUC staff denied Enbridge had any role in selecting the escrow account manager, The Intercept reported.
Regardless of Enbridge’s influence on the hiring decision, perception matters. At a minimum, the email exchange show law enforcement believed Enbridge had influence on selecting the escrow account manager and Enbridge was trying to curry favor with the sheriffs.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says there are better uses for pipelines than carrying tar sands oil
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm weighed in on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline at a CNN climate town hall on Friday.
According to Politico’s summary:
GRANHOLM ON LINE 3: Granholm addressed the Biden administration’s stance on the controversial Line 3 pipeline, telling the event that the administration is “really sensitive to indigenous peoples and their homelands and making sure that we are not uprooting communities that we have a moral obligation to partner with.”
Noting that the project is under review and not in her department, Granholm did not say directly whether the administration would act to thwart the project, which would bring Canadian oil sands to the Midwest, but instead said the administration would “much rather see pipelines that are carrying clean energy, like hydrogen or CO2 that it puts underground” or for replacing lead-contaminated water pipes.Politico
Pipeline private security firms gets lax oversight compared to water protector scrutiny
Texas-based Leighton Security Services — the company accused of operating without a license in North Dakota during Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests — is being accused of operating without a license to protect pipeline projects in West Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio, according to DeSmog Blog.
“It was a Leighton employee who pointed an AR-15 rifle at Indigenous water protectors blocking construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016,” the post said. “The scene … was one of hundreds of brutal assaults that militarized private security forces used against the activists and their supporters.”
The DeSmog Blog post contrasts how various states are passing laws to increase penalties on water protectors while private security companies protecting fossil fuel projects have little oversight or accountability. For instance, Leighton never admitted to any wrongdoing for working without a license on DAPL; it ended up paying a minimal $43,500 fee.
Internationally, mining projects use private security for blackmail, spying, threats against the opposition, and that’s translating to this continent
On the international front, activists opposing mining and other extractive projects are facing increased militarized oppression by private security, according to a post by TruthOut. The author, a University of California researcher, said extractive industries in other countries use spying, blackmail, defamation, and intimidation to undermine the opposition.
“Far from a problem confined to the Global South, evidence indicates that counterinsurgency operations by extractive companies are also becoming commonplace in the United States and Canada,” the story said. “… In 2013, documents revealed covert spying by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service against Indigenous groups and environmental allies organizing against the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, including Idle No More, Sierra Club, and others.
New pipeline route would cut through predominantly African American neighborhoods in Memphis
Proponents of the proposed 49-mile Byhalia Pipeline in the Memphis area talk about safety and the benefits for energy security, yet once again a pipeline route is being pushed through neighborhoods that are disproportionately African American, the Guardian reports.
Byhalia is a high-pressure crude oil pipeline that would connect Valero’s Memphis Refinery with a Valero facility in Mississippi.
The route would run through multiple majority-Black neighborhoods in south-west Memphis, and researchers and activists say a spill could threaten the city’s public water source: an aquifer the size of Lake Michigan. …
The legal battle over the proposed pipeline has become a flashpoint in a national conversation about environmental justice and eminent domain, a right of the government to seize private property for public use, which is increasingly being used by oil and gas companies to take private land.The Guardian