Call Gov. Walz, Tell Him to Support Lawsuit to Stop Enbridge Line 3

In the final weeks of his term in office, Gov. Mark Dayton took a stand against approving the Enbridge Line crude oil pipeline. The project threatens clean waters (think Mississippi River and wild rice beds), breaks treaty rights, and generates climate damage equivalent to 50 coal power plants.

Dayton sat on the sidelines of the debate for a long time. But in the end, he supported the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn Line 3’s approval. (See MPR story: Minnesota governor’s administration files Line 3 appeal.)

“I strongly support my Commerce Department’s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s Order,” Dayton said in a statement. “Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law. Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions.”

Gov. Walz. a Camp Wellstone graduate, has taken his spot on the sidelines, going squishy on this critical issue. Walz is undecided on whether to support the lawsuit begun under the Dayton administration. (See MinnPost story: Walz Administration Reconsidering Lawsuit Against Enbridge Pipeline Project.)

He needs to here from constituents. Here’s how.

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Anishinaabe ‘Rights of Manoomin’ Laws Create Legal Basis to Protect Sacred Wild Rice

‘This would be the first law to recognize the legal rights of a plant species

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority are taking action to address the growing threats to native wild rice, such as potential crude oil pipeline spills or the spread of genetically modified wild rice. They are establishing new laws and claiming treaty rights to protect their culture and sacred food.

The 1855 Treaty Alliance was established to protect the treaty rights of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, White Earth, East Lake and Sandy Lake bands. The Alliance covers those lands the Anishinaabe ceded as part of their 1855 Treaty with the United States. (Among those treaty rights, bands claim the right to hunt, fish and gather — including harvesting wild rice — on ceded lands.)

According to a media statement from the 1855 Treaty Alliance:

Recently the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Alliance adopted Rights of Manoomn for on and off reservation protection of wild rice and the clean, fresh water resources and habitats in which it thrives. The Rights of Manoomin were adopted because “it has become necessary to provide a legal basis to protect wild rice and fresh water resources as part of our primary treaty foods for future generations” …

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Gov. Walz Administration Reconsidering Enbridge Line 3 Lawsuit; Pipeline Resisters Organizing Peaceful Inaugural Response

Gov. Tim Walz administration is reconsidering the state’s role in a lawsuit to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline, according to a MinnPost story.

Under Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the Minnesota Department of Commerce opposed approving Line 3, saying Enbridge had not proved the pipeline was needed. (Line 3 will cross 330-plus miles of northern Minnesota, threatening the environment and treaty rights.) The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the project last year and Commerce sued in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, asking it to overturn the PUC’s decision.

It remains unclear if the Walz administration will continue the legal challenge or not.

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Community Discussion About Controversial St. Paul City Hall Murals to Be Held Jan. 10

The East Side Freedom Library is hosting a community discussion about the four murals in the chambers shared by the St. Paul City Council and the Ramsey County Board. These Depression-era murals have been controversial because of how they portray our history. They have images that are not welcoming to all members of the community, including a priest towering over Native Americans and converting them.

The community discussion will be held at the library, 1105 Greenbrier Street, St. Paul, on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. St. Paul City Council Member Jane Prince (7th Ward) and Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough will participate. The event is free and open to the public. Here is the Facebook Event Page to share.

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Questions and Criticisms Abound in Enbridge Line 3’s ‘Tribal Economic Opportunity’ Plan

Enbridge’s promised $100 million in “tribal economic opportunity” as a part of its Line 3 crude oil pipeline project is still under review, well after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved the project.

Enbridge’s jobs proposal had some PR appeal. The reasoning goes that since the Anishinaabe of northern Minnesota are bearing a disproportionate share of the project’s risks — oil spills, threats to wild rice, and the risk of increased assaults on women during pipeline construction — surely they should get something back.

But there is no guaranteed benefit for the Anishinaabe. Further, the PUC’s order has no enforcement mechanism or prescribed penalty if Enbridge fails to live up to its word.

Enbridge offered a vague and flawed jobs proposal. If history is prelude, the PUC will rubber stamp it.

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Here’s to the Upcoming ‘Greatest Generation’

I am proud to know a few of the indigenous leaders and youth of all colors who are working tirelessly to stop climate disaster by opposing the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects. I believe these will be part of our next “Greatest Generation.”

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MN Dept. of Commerce Joins Appeal Against Enbridge Line 3, Protest at Line 3 Storage Yard, and More

More than 50 pipeline resisters met at this pipeline storage yard in a Carlton County gravel pit Thursday to call on the state to halt all Line 3 construction and pre-construction activities until all Line 3 reviews are complete. Enbridge has several such storage yards around the state that don’t have appropriate permits.

Governor Mark Dayton came out today against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota, backing a legal challenge by the Minnesota Department of Commerce to overturn the decision of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Members of MN350, the Youth Climate Intervenors and the Sierra Club stopped by Gov. Dayton’s office today to thank his staff for his support of the Line 3 appeal.

In a decision that didn’t seem to line up with the facts, the PUC voted this summer to grant Line 3 a Certificate of Need and a Route permit. Line 3 will add significantly to climate damage and violate treaty rights. Oil spills from Line 3 could damage the Mississippi River and our clean lakes and streams. The evidence shows Minnesota doesn’t need this pipeline; it will only serve to help Canada’s foreign export efforts.

Indigenous and environmental groups have been pushing Dayton to take a stand against Line 3 for more than a year. Now in his final weeks in office, Dayton took a very positive step to stop this unnecessary project. According to his news release, he said:

“I strongly support my Commerce Department’s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s Order.

“Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law. Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions. It failed to demonstrate that Minnesota needs this pipeline to meet our future oil demand. In fact, most of the product would flow through our state to supply other states and countries.

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