The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case this year trying to end the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law that provides states guidance on how to handle “child abuse and neglect and adoption cases involving Native children,” with the goal to keep Native children in Native homes.
The case, Haaland v. Brackeen, has huge implications for Native children and families. Less well known is how corporate interests appear to be weighing in, trying to undermine Tribal sovereignty to increase their profits.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota, Enbridge Line 5 in Wisconsin and Michigan, and other crude oil pipelines have had, or continue to have, controversial paths towards approval.
With the exception of Keystone XL, corporate interests have won out over strong public resistance and weak regulatory oversight.
Pipeline firms have got the go-ahead on massive infrastructure projects in spite of their their treaty violations, their troubling track records, and their long-term environmental costs, including their significant climate damage.
The Regulatory/Industrial Complex has a Pipeline Playbook that needs to be named and called out.
Water protector Marcus Mitchell won a victory in the Eighth District Court of Appeals today; the ruling reversed a lower court decision that dismissed his excessive force claims.
Mitchell’s lawsuit now goes back to lower court for further deliberations.
Morton County Sheriff’s deputies shot Mitchell with lead-filled bean bags while he peacefully protested the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017. One of those bean bags hit him in the head, shattering his eye socket. (Photo here.) Mitchell lost sight in his left eye, and has partial hearing loss in his left ear, an article in The Guardian said.
The decision is powerful in how it paints a clear picture of Morton County’s excessive use of force against many water protectors.
Indigenous nations and people are flexing their treaty muscles to Stop Line 3.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Transportation threatened arrests and evictions earlier today at the Red Lake Treaty Camp in Pennington County. The camp is adjacent to lands where Enbridge plans to tunnel Line 3 under the Red Lake River.
The agencies later rescinded their trespass order, indicating that Water Protectors in the area are not required to leave.
That said, law enforcement arrested one person at the Treaty Camp Tuesday. They also brought attack dogs, according to a media release, reminiscent of Standing Rock.
Unlike Standing Rock, however, which focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing, Line 3 runs 337 miles border-to-border through northern Minnesota, crossing more than 200 bodies. Resistance is spread out. Water Protectors use a variety of tactics. Some resist with peaceful presence, exercising their treaty-protected rights to hold ceremony on Line 3 easements. Others lock down to equipment.
In other news today, Water Protectors locked down to Enbridge’s Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) equipment being used to bore a Line 3 tunnel under the Straight River in Hubbard County, according to the Giniw Collective.
On Monday, three Water Protectors connected to a ceremony were arrested in Aitkin County on an Enbridge easement for its second Mississippi River crossing.
Darrell G. Seki Sr., chair of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and Michael Fairbanks, Chair of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe wrote a strong letter to President Biden last winter asking him to shut down Enbridge Line 3 by executive order.
They asked Biden to respect Tribal sovereignty and treaties. “As elected leaders, we wish to state clearly that the Bands never gave consent for the construction of the pipeline through our treaty lands,” the Feb. 2 letter said. “In fact, the Bands’ governing bodies have each enacted multiple Resolutions throughout the course of the five-year regulatory process in opposition to the 338 miles of pipeline construction through the largest concentration of wild rice watersheds in the United States.”
With Walz being a wallflower in the Line 3 debate, Tribes, water protectors and their allies have ramped up presidential pressure.
Last month, more than 300 organizations “representing Indigenous groups and national and local organizations, sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling on him to immediately suspend or revoke Enbridge’s Line 3 permits,” WECAN reported.
Big month ahead, including major Line 3 court ruling
Tribal nations and environmental and Indigenous-led groups have worked for years to stop Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 tars sands pipeline through northern Minnesota. Line 3 is bad for the environment, bad for climate, violates treaty rights and simply isn’t needed.
Enbridge is a multi-national, bottom-line company seeking to minimize its costs and maximize its profits. It prioritizes its profits over the environment, climate, and treaty rights.
Minnesota regulators shouldn’t have put their trust in Enbridge, let alone approved Line 3 permits. There are plenty of examples to show how Enbridge has lacked transparency and not been a reliable partner, both here and in other states.
Work on Line 3 has slowed in the past few months due to springtime construction restrictions. It’s now picking back up.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals will rule no later than June 21 on the first of three major legal challenges to Line 3 in state and federal courts. This first suit seeks to overturn Line 3’s Certificate of Need, Route Permit, and Environmental Impact Statement.
With a busy and important month ahead, I’m take this opportunity to review the red flags I’ve seen surrounding Enbridge and its Line 3 proposal.