For a crude oil pipeline carrying 760,000 barrels a day, a “pinhole leak” is bigger than it sounds

Enbridge Line 3 could spill up to 7,600 barrels a day without triggering leak sensors

One of the difficulties writing about the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline is that one gets buried by thousands of pages of documents, much more than most people have the time to read. There’s testimony, briefing papers, the environmental impact statement, administrative law judge analysis, permit applications, permit decisions, legal appeals … you get the picture.

There are many important stories hidden in these documents. I haven’t scratched the surface. I depend on people who have done the deep dive, people like Nicolette Slagle, Honor the Earth’s research director. She put me onto the “pinhole leak” story. It sounds small enough until you get into the details.

Honor the Earth and its consultant CJE did important work pointing out flaws in Enbridge’s pinhole leak analysis. Stunningly, state regulators failed to acknowledge any of them in Line 3’s final environmental impact statement.

This story is too late to affect change in the Line 3 environmental impact statemenet. But it raises larger questions about state regulators’ ability to effectively review future proposals of similar harmful projects.

Continue reading

Honor the Earth denounces MN Supreme Court action for failing to protect indigenous rights

The Minnesota Supreme Court today declined to review a case that could have required the state to complete a traditional cultural property survey before it could permit large construction projects such as the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the Minnesota Supreme Court felt more interested in siding with the rights of a Canadian corporation to proceed with a high-risk project than protecting the rights of the Minnesota Anishinabe and indigenous people and the rights of nature,” Winona LaDuke, Co-founder and Executive Director of Honor the Earth said in a statement. Continue reading

Public Utilities Commission, Enbridge need to go back to square one on Line 3’s Human Trafficking Prevention Plan

When the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the Route Permit for the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline, it required the company to develop a Human Trafficking Prevention Plan for the project’s construction phase.

Enbridge Line 3 is a proposed multi-billion dollar crude oil pipeline project that would run 340 miles through northern Minnesota. Public testimony and the state’s Line 3’s environmental impact statement raised concerns about the connection between the large influx of out-of-state construction workers for the project and increases in drug and sex trafficking along the construction route.

The Human Trafficking Prevention Plan is done, but Enbridge won’t release it. It appears Enbridge failed to engage a key participant — the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force — as the Public Utilities Commission required. Enbridge doesn’t even seem to think the Human Trafficking Prevention Plan is needed as it relates to Line 3.

It’s time to reset this conversation and start over.

A Minnesota Court of Appeals decision has put the Line 3 issue back before the Public Utilities Commission. The Commission now has chance to fix the problems.

Here are six reasons to worry that, without changes, Enbridge’s plan will be inadequate. Continue reading

Events: A film honoring Warrior Women, an art exhibit honoring George Morrison, Stop Line 3 events and more!

Upcoming Events:

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments on case to protect wild rice from mining pollution, Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Opening reception for “Changing Horizons,” an art exhibit honoring Geroge Morrison, Sept. 12
  • Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters, Sept. 21-22
  • Gichi-gami Gathering to Stop Line 3 in Duluth Sept. 28
  • Augburg Native Film Screening: Warrior Women, Saturday, Oct. 5
  • Panel discussion on Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, Oct. 14
  • Registration now open for the 2019 Overcoming Racism Conference, Nov. 15-16

Continue reading

MPCA Commissioner Bishop underwhelms responding to Line 3 question

MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop drew a large crowd at the Growth and Justice breakfast event.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner Laura Bishop is saying all the right things when it comes to the urgent need to address climate damage and to engage the public and tribal nations in these conversations.

Yet when she was asked to comment on the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline — and its harm to climate, water and treaty rights — she gave a cautious response, calling for more public input. At one point, she said: “It’s a tough one.”

Continue reading

Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters, and other events

Photo: Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.

You are invited to “Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters” at Lake Itasca State Park, on the weekend of September 21-22.

As part of a global week of climate action, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light and Honor the Earth will once again bring an interfaith voice to the environmental justice movement. Join us for our second year at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River for a community gathering and prayer circle to honor the sacredness of water. We’ll learn about Treaty Rights, pipeline routes, language and culture, and more. The weekend will culminate with a prayer circle at the Mississippi Headwaters in which leaders from every major faith tradition will affirm the sacred nature of water and our moral commitment to protecting life, and saying no Line 3.

Details on the Facebook Event Page. RSVP here. More events follow.

Continue reading

Sign Petition to Attorney General Keith Ellison to Stop Line 3!

MN350 has launched a petition to urge Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to speak out against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline and to use his office to intervene against this dangerous and unnecessary project.

Add your name: We need AG Ellison to act on Line 3.

At the 2015 Tar Sands Resistance March, then-Congressman Keith Ellison took a stand against crude oil pipelines. (You can watch his full speech here.) He said he would stand with his Native brothers and sisters. He spoke against a fossil fuel industry that put profits over real human consequences. We need him to speak up against Line 3, now that he’s our Attorney General and in a position to affect change.

Continue reading