Two Line 3 workers arrested for soliciting sex as part of human trafficking sting

The Duluth News Tribune reported Tuesday that two of the seven people arrested in a northern Minnesota human trafficking sting were Enbridge Line 3 workers, “fueling concern that construction of the oil pipeline is bringing a higher risk of sex crimes to the area.”

Arrested were:

  • Michael Kelly West, 53, of Rolla, Missouri, who was charged with one count of carrying a pistol without a permit and one count of solicitation to engage in prostitution.
  • Matthew Ty Hall, 33, of Mount Pleasant, Texas, who was charged with one count of solicitation of a person believed to be a minor.

The sting involved web ads that engaged potential customers in sex-for-money conversations, the story said. Perhaps of most concern, West told arresting officers he heard about the ads “from rumors at work.”

That means this isn’t an isolated incident; other workers are talking about it.

[Update: StarTribune story here.]

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Line 3: Don’t be distracted from the true danger

Screen grab of Unicorn Riot’s feed showing part of Friday’s protest.

Friday’s bomb scare in Carlton County will be used by some to make water protectors seem dangerous, shifting attention away from real dangers posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Water protectors were demonstrating against Line 3 in Carlton County Friday. As the event was happening, the county received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

The county’s response was quick and perhaps excessive. It called in the bomb squad. Law enforcement evacuated 40 nearby residences within a half-mile radius of the device. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake called in regional and federal law enforcement. She’s calling for maximum charges and penalties.

There was no bomb. Still, placing a “replica device” that causes fear and panic is a crime.

The incident occurred near Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-led frontline resistance camp, but the protests that day were several miles away from where the incident occurred.

There’s been no information released that ties the incident to Camp Migizi or the protest. There have been no arrests. Yet without evidence, Enbridge and others are blaming water protectors.

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Line 3 updates: Pressure on Biden, new frontline treaty camp, ELCA bishop releases statement, and more

In this blog:

  • Water protectors travel to Milwaukee today to tell President Biden to Stop Line 3
  • Invitation as the RISE Coalition opens new frontline treaty and prayer camp in Bagley Saturday-Sunday
  • Virtual tour of Camp Migizi Wednesday at 2 p.m.
  • Minneapolis ELCA Bishop says listen to Indigenous voices on Line 3
  • Gizmodo: Facebook favors Enbridge ads in Line 3 controversy
  • Freeborn County in far southern Minnesota ponders sending deputies north to respond to Line 3 resistance
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Early Enbridge data shows company falling short on its Line 3 jobs promises

Enbridge claims $180 million spending in Native American economic development

Enbridge knew it had an uphill climb to get state regulators to approve its expanded Line 3 pipeline project through northern Minnesota. To sway them, it pitched local job creation and a separate economic development plan for Native Americans.

It worked. Line 3 construction is underway.

While the work is far from over, early numbers show Enbridge falling behind on its promises to create local jobs. It says its already exceeded its promises to provide a $100 million economic boost to Native nations, bands, and individual workers.

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Enbridge Line 3’s COVID Preparedness Plan has no teeth

On Dec. 2, the day after Enbridge started construction of its Line 3 pipeline, the company updated its COVID Preparedness Plan with state regulators.

The plan was part of a compliance filing for Line 3’s Route Permit, approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The plan seemed deficient, lacking transparency and enforcement. Healing Minnesota Stories wrote the PUC to ask why it didn’t require a stronger plan.

PUC Executive Secretary Will Seuffert wrote back: “the Commission did not require Enbridge to file any plans related to COVID-19, and did not approve the COVID-19 prevention plan.”

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‘Healing in these traumatic times’ essay, ‘This is Dakota Land’ yard signs, and more

In this blog:

  • ‘Healing for these traumatic times’ essay
  • “This is Dakota land” lawn signs available
  • Line 3 update: Beltrami County Sheriff seeks reimbursement for weapons under the guise of personal protective equipment
  • DAPL decision delayed
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Line 3 updates: Watch the Line trainings, t-shirt fundraiser, a digital rally, another pipeline accident, and more

In this blog:

  • Next ‘Watch the Line’ trainings set
  • Protect the Sacred Water digital rally Wednesday
  • Update on Biden’s pipeline stance
  • Cool t-shirt fundraiser for front line resistance
  • #DefundLine3 Campaign Launch Event Feb. 16
  • Pipeline worker trapped underwater inside his heavy equipment
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This Day in History, Feb. 6, 1850, a broken treaty sets in motion the Sandy Lake Atrocity

Minnesota leaders still disregarding treaties today

The Red Lake and White Earth nations are suing in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, arguing it violates their long-standing treaties with the U.S. government. The treaties of 1854 and 1855 guaranteed them the right to hunt, fish, and gather in lands they ceded, they say. Line 3 construction and future oil spills threaten those rights.

The state of Minnesota has turned a blind eye, approving Line 3 permits and allowing Enbridge to begin construction before courts resolve the treaty rights dispute. The failure goes all way up the ladder to Gov. Tim Walz.

It should come as no surprise. Minnesota was born of broken treaties.

On this day in history, Feb. 6, 1850, President Zachery Taylor signed an executive order that broke several treaties with the Chippewa. Taylor took that action at the behest of Minnesota’s Territorial Gov. Alexander Ramsey and other Minnesota leaders.

This executive order — and a corrupt scheme by Ramsey to advance his own financial and political fortunes — would lead to the deaths of 400 Chippewa people.

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