Manoomin (wild rice) is suing the DNR in White Earth Tribal Court

Manoomin (wild rice), the White Earth Nation, and others are suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in White Earth Tribal Court over the DNR’s decision to approve excessive dewatering as part of Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction.

Those speaking on behalf of Manoomin, the lead plaintiff, said Manoomin requires water to live and thrive and the Line 3 dewatering threatened its very existence during a severe drought.

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Rights of Mahnoomin webinar, voter registration in Indigenous languages, a state park honoring the original people of the area, and more

In this blog:

  • Webinar on the Rights of Manoomin (wild rice) Tuesday
  • A first! Voter Registration cards in three Native languages
  • New Virginia state park honors Indigenous people who lived there
  • Native corn thought extinct returns to Nebraska
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition from an Indigenous point of view
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What does Tribal Consultation look like?

The Minnesota Legislature strengthened the state’s commitment to consulting with Native Nations, but agencies still need to follow through

On April 5, 2019, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 19-24: “Affirming the Government to Government Relationship between the State of Minnesota and Minnesota Tribal Nations: Providing for Consultation, Coordination, and Cooperation.” It commits the state to “meaningful and timely” consultation.

That’s profound. It means sharing power with Native Nations on issues of mutual concern to make decisions beneficial for both sides.

The executive order states agencies “must consider the input gathered from tribal consultation into their decision-making processes, with the goal of achieving mutually beneficial solutions.”

The Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline provided an early test for the Walz administration’s promise. The administration failed.

A bill passed during special session this year makes another effort to strengthen the state’s commitment to meaningful consultation with Native Nations.

Key to this conversation is being precise about exactly what “meaningful consultation” means and looks like.

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Star Tribune steps up to the plate on treaty rights, swings, and misses

I was excited when I read the Nov. 13 Star Tribune headline: Minnesota officials work to mend historically fraught relationship with tribes. I was hoping for a thoughtful analysis.

Reading it, I was reminded of what my friend Bob Klanderud called a “wish sandwich”: Two pieces of white bread with nothing in between other than a wish for some peanut butter.

The story lacked peanut butter, I wish it were there.

The story didn’t mention Enbridge Line 3 once. It’s an open wound and central to Minnesota’s current “fraught relationship” with Native nations in northern Minnesota.

For years, the Red Lake and White Earth nations have argued that the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline violates treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather on lands they ceded to the U.S. government. They have received zero support from the Governor’s Office or his agency heads.

The Star Tribune was willfully ignorant of how important Line 3 is in Indian Country and/or it didn’t want to ask tough questions.

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Aitkin County Sheriff to bill Enbridge 4,800 staff hours for Line 3 training and responses

And pushing back on Sheriff Guida’s claims his office didn’t take sides in the controversy

[The correct date for this blog is Nov. 11, 2021]

Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office will submit bills to the Enbridge Line 3 Public Safety Escrow Account for reimbursements for 4,800 hours of staff time dedicated to Line 3 work, Sheriff Dan Guida said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Specifically, the county will bill 4,373 hours for public safety responses and 450 hours for staff training on pipeline construction. Guida didn’t include a dollar figure for those costs. A back-of-the-envelop calculation estimates salary costs around $140,000. The final bill could go higher if it includes benefits, travel, equipment and other costs beyond salaries.

In his statement, Guida said his office stayed neutral on the conflict. That claim needs to be challenged.

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Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

On Aug. 27, the day following the four-day ‘Treaty Not Tar Sands’ rally, law enforcement turned out en masse to evict anyone who hadn’t left. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

[Note: This updates an Oct. 26 post with new information. The Oct. 26 post has been taken down.]

Minnesota state government spent $1.6 million in law enforcement, concrete barricades, and chain link fencing to “protect” the Capitol during the Treaties Not Tars Sands event, Aug. 23-27, according to data provided by the Department of Administration and the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Seven other agencies responded to DPS’s request for aid. Their costs are not included in that figure.

It’s another chapter in excessive policing of water protectors. It stands in stark contrast to the state’s lax response to Enbridge’s permit violations and the environmental damage done during construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

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Young people bird dog Minnesota’s U.S. Senators on Line 3 stances

It’s a great disappointment that Minnesota’s two U.S. senators have shown no leadership in stopping the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. They’ve avoided taking a position altogether. Young people have been trying to catch up with them, get them to support the Line 3 resistance, and urge President Biden to pull the pipeline’s permits.

In other news, Canada’s invoking treaty rights to keep Enbridge Line 5 operating in Michigan when treaty rights have been roundly ignored in Minnesota around Line 3.

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MN environmental leaders press Walz to pull Line 3 permits, PA Attorney General sues pipeline company for ‘environmental crimes,’ and more

In this blog:

  • Minnesota environmental leaders press Walz, Flanagan to pull Line 3 permits due to Enbridge’s construction problems and reporting failures
  • Scientists provide extensive list of Enbridge Line 3’s construction and oversight problems
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General sues Energy Transfer for ‘environmental crimes’ during construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline
  • Scientists release water analysis from Enbridge Line 3 frac out sites
  • Looking at future environmental damage from Enbridge Line 5 in Wisconsin
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State’s lack of transparency on Line 3 construction disrespects and traumatizes citizens

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) have utterly failed the public in proactively explaining what is happening on the ground regarding Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction.

The project has traumatized many Native peoples, who say Line 3 violates their treaty rights and threatens their sacred wild rice. It has traumatized many other citizens, particularly young people, who believe Line 3’s climate impacts will significantly damage their future.

Water protectors on the ground still see problems along the route and struggle to get answers.

It’s the state’s job to inform the public about matters of great public interest. The state’s lack of transparency is inexcusable and infuriating.

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Line 3: Martineau declines award; Enbridge Line 5 mediation ends; U.N. committee presses U.S. on human rights abuses of the Anishinaabe

In this blog:

  • Taysha Martineau declines award, rejecting corporate climate hypocrisy
  • Mediation talks on Enbridge Line 5 in Michigan end with no agreement
  • U.N. Committee seeks U.S. response to allegations of human rights abuses of Anishinaabe people resisting Enbridge Line 3
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