An Open Letter to Ariel Delouya, Consul General, the Canadian Consulate in Minnesota
Dear Mr. Delouya,
I recently read the letter you submitted on behalf of the Canadian Consulate in Minnesota to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in support of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline, specifically your support for Line 3’s revised environmental impact statement.
Given Canada’s commitment to respect the rights of First Nations peoples, it’s galling that you and your government are supporting violation of indigenous rights here in Minnesota. Your letter couches your support for Line 3 in the language of high principles, stating: “Canada is committed to renewing the relationship with lndigenous Peoples, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.”
The position you are taking on Enbridge Line 3 fails to live up to those ideals.
Last year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled the state’s environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline was inadequate. In a glaring error, it failed to consider the impact of a crude oil spill in the Lake Superior watershed.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission ordered the Minnesota Department of Commerce to revise the Line 3 EIS (for a second time). Once again, the results are disappointing. The state has made industry-friendly assumptions that underestimate the project’s risks. The EIS remains flawed.
If the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) were to have a mascot it would be the ostrich, its head buried in the sand.
The PUC approved permits for the deeply flawed Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in 2018. Line 3 would run 340 miles through northern Minnesota, burrowing under the Mississippi headwaters, cutting through state forests, and crossing more than 75 miles of wetlands and more than 200 water bodies.
The PUC ignored Line 3’s climate damage — more severe storms, drought and other impacts — estimated at $287 billion worldwide over three decades. It ignored treaty rights, choosing instead to side with Enbridge’s interpretation of Constitutional law. It ignored experts at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, who said Enbridge had failed to prove the pipeline was needed. It ignored the increased risk of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a risk that would have received serious attention had it affected more affluent communities. It undervalued Line 3’s spill risks to our clean water and wild rice.
According to its own documents, Enbridge openly admits it can’t build Line 3 and meet all of Minnesota’s water quality standards, “given northern Minnesota’s topography and environment (e.g., avoiding wetlands).”
Line 3 opponents filed three major challenges with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The first case challenged Line 3’s environmental impact statement. Last fall, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found the statement inadequate because it failed to consider the impacts of a spill in the Lake Superior Watershed. That seems like a major oversight the PUC should have caught. The state has now patched up the environmental impact statement and the project is going back to the PUC for approval.
And now the stage is set for an encore performance of the PUC’s “Ignore the Risk.” Continue reading →
A Mutual Aid Drive is being organized to support Indigenous leaders working on the front lines to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tars sands oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. The drive is being organized by a coalition of MN350, Camps-A-Rising, and the Twin Cities Logistics Collective. It’s responding to specific requests from Indigenous water protectors and is reaching out for public support. Continue reading →
Did the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission build in adequate financial protections should a new Line 3 crude oil pipeline burst? Minnesotans should worry.
Enbridge Inc., a giant Canadian crude oil pipeline company, has a history of trying to use a corporate shell game to avoid responsibility for the clean-up costs from a major crude oil spill.
Liability coverage is a significant point of contention around the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. The proposed 340-mile pipeline route would cross more than 200 waterbodies and pass through more than 75 miles of wetlands, according to project documents. It would pass through and near wild rice beds. It would pass near drinking water sources. The question is: should this pipeline get built, could Enbridge cover clean-up costs from a major spill?
Let’s be clear. A Line 3 spill would be disastrous and impossible to clean up fully. Tar sands crude oil is heavy and sinks, making it difficult to clean up. The tar sands crude is viscous and difficult to pump through pipelines. Producers add toxic chemicals to help the tar sands crude oil flow. A spill would release those toxic additives into the environment. A spill in a fragile ecosystem such as a wild rice bed would do long-term damage.
Money would not solve the spill. Still, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) sought to ensure Enbridge would be on the hook for clean up costs.