And would they do anything different for the next pipeline proposal?
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seemed to have had an unfounded confidence that Enbridge would follow the rules while building its new Line 3/93 tar sands pipeline across 337 miles of northern Minnesota.
As we now know, Line 3/93 construction resulted in three significant aquifer breaches and extensive water problems in Walker Brook Valley.
All were preventable. There is likely more damage than currently made public.
The environmental damage from building the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline appears to be much greater than what is publicly known.
In response to a Data Practice Act, Healing Minnesota Stories obtained a copy of a “Dewatering Permit” the Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR) issued Enbridge last Fall, more than ten months after construction was deemed complete and the pipeline operational.
The permit runs from Aug 12, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023, or more than 16 months. That’s more time than it took Enbridge (10 months) to build Line 3 in the first place.
The permit allows Enbridge to dewater up to one billion gallons per year. That’s double Enbridge’s initial 511 million gallon dewatering request to build the entire pipeline.
One of the last criminal cases related to Enbridge Line 3 will start Monday, May 8, in Clearwater County.
Defendants in what is known as the Fire Light Treaty Encampment have created a website to explain their case and lift up the importance on non-Indigenous peoples being treaty partners and standing up to honor treaty rights. Click here for the website.
No, just more of the same. With echoes of J.Edgar Hoover, The Intercept reported March 21 that the FBI planted spies in racial justice groups in the wake of civil unrest following George Floyd’s 2020 murder by Minneapolis police. The FBI used the plants not only to gather intelligence, but also to encourage violence — in other words a taxpayer-funded, political effort to discredit racial justice work.
The story focuses on one particular spy who infiltrated a racial justice group in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The operative went by the name “Chelsie.” She had long, pink hair, claimed to be from Washington state and dropped hints she was a sex worker. Her real job was working as a detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Enbridge work crews officially finished building the new Line 3 tar sands pipeline across northern Minnesota in late September, 2021. The last section completed ran through the Walker Brook valley, a forested peat bog in Clearwater County.
Less than a year later, work crews returned to Walker Brook to fix problems created by this ill-considered and poorly permitted project.
State regulators haven’t talked about problems at Walker Brook publicly. Members of the public don’t know how many other Line 3/93 construction damage sites exist that they haven’t been told about. (Regulators don’t talk about them until they have been investigated and, if appropriate, levied fines, which leaves the public in the dark for long periods of time.)
I wouldn’t have known about the problems at Walker Brook but for friends who volunteer with a group called Waadookawaad Amikwag (Anishinaabemowin for Those who help beaver). They coordinate with drone pilots who monitor the Line 3/93 corridor looking for potential trouble spots. When problem areas are identified, volunteers go in on foot for a first-hand look.
On a recent Sunday, I joined my friends in what they call a “ground truthing” of the Walker Brook site.
This Tuesday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is hosting an information session for those interested in applying for its Environmental Justice Advisory Group (EJ Advisory Group).
This is vitally important work. Potential applicants be warned, however, that the MPCA has not taken this group seriously in the past. The majority of its members (12 of 17) resigned in November, 2020 because the agency’s decision to permit the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. The advisory group opposed the permits because of the project’s disproportionate impact on Anishinaabe Tribes located in northern Minnesota.
The fact that the MPCA has taken this long to reconstitute the group is a troubling sign.