As Walz administration continues to fail on Line 3, Line 3 continues bringing trauma to Indian Country

T-shirts spelled out: “We are all treaty people”

Native Nations and environmental groups opposed to the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline announced Wednesday they would appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn the pipeline’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit.

One notable advocate that had sued to stop Line 3 dropped out this time: The Minnesota Department of Commerce. Commerce represented the public interest before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). It has consistently argued that Enbridge failed to prove that future oil demand justified building the new and larger Line 3.

Those continuing litigation to overturn the PUC’s Line 3 permits are: The White Earth Band of Ojibwe, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, Friends of the Headwaters, and Youth Climate Interveners.

Gov. Tim Walz appears to have caved to political pressure. His administration’s decision to drop the appeal emphasizes what’s been clear for a while: In spite of promises, Walz is not taking climate damage or treaty rights seriously.

In related news, top elected leaders from the White Earth Nation came to the Capitol today to press the Walz administration for nation-to-nation consultation around Line 3.

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An Executive Order that wasn’t, Capitol Rally to oppose Line 3 dewatering, Shell River Rally, and more

In this blog:

  • The Executive Order that wasn’t
  • White Earth pushes against Line 3 dewatering increases, Capitol rally Wednesday at 3 p.m.
  • Women for the Rivers Rally at Shell River Thursday, noon-3 p.m., with V and Marisa Tomei
  • Last push for Line 3 monitors; we need eyes on the Horizontal Directional Drilling sites
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The PUC isn’t acting in the public interest or even answering public questions about flaws in its Line 3 permits

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is a uniquely confusing state entity. It’s not a state agency. It’s not a court. It’s a quasi-judicial entity, something of a hybrid which also happens to lack both transparency and accountability.

I watched the PUC’s deliberations on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline going back to 2017-18, and I remain confused about why the Commission seemed to bend over backwards for Enbridge and ignore the public interest.

It led me to reread the PUC’s convoluted mission statement and question whether that’s part of the problem:

The Commission’s mission is to create and maintain a regulatory environment that ensures safe, adequate and efficient utility services at fair, reasonable rates consistent with State telecommunications and energy policies. It does so by providing independent, consistent, professional and comprehensive oversight and regulation of utility service providers. One of the key functions of the commission in performing this mission is to balance the private and public interests affected in each docket, and to make decisions that appropriately balance these interests in a manner that is “consistent with the public interest.” (Emphasis added.)

PUC website

If you blur your eyes and don’t think too hard, you might think it’s reasonable. Boiling it down into its simplest terms, it makes no sense. The mission statement says the PUC is supposed to balance the private and public interest in a manner consistent with the public interest.

It implies there are two kinds of “public interest.” One is the full-blown public interest. Then the PUC balances the public interest against the corporate interest — compromising the public interest — and still comes up with a decision that’s “consistent with the public interest”?

The PUC didn’t consider the public interest in approving Line 3. The public interest was nowhere to be found.

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Shuttles to Line 3 resistance camps and other news

In this blog:

  • Shuttle service being created for front-line water protector camps
  • Minneapolis police spokesperson works on the Northern Lights Task Force protecting Line 3; City Council passes ordinance opposing Line 3
  • Treaties aren’t broken, they’re not being honored
  • Hubbard County law enforcement blockades water protector encampment
  • Economics cancel Byhalia Pipeline
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Enbridge Line 3 stands in a long line of Minnesota’s treaty violations

This day in history, Congress creates the ‘White Earth Roll Commission’

The White Earth Nation (Gaa-waabaabiganikaag) is invoking its treaty rights to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline from being built. To date, it’s had no success. For White Earth and other Ojibwe bands and nations, it’s the latest in a long string of treaty abuses.

Let’s look at one other example. On this day in history, June 30, 1913, Congress created the White Earth Roll Commission to determine which White Earth Band members were “full blooded” and which were “mixed blood.” This was not a distinction Native communities made. Congress created these designations so businesses could “legally” steal White Earth’s valuable pine lands.

On one hand, it’s a typical story about people with money and power abusing the system to enrich themselves. On the other hand, it’s a little known story about how the United States decided, in its hubris, that it could dictate who is an “Indian” and who is a “mixed blood.”

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From the Line 3 front lines: Arrests at multiple sites, police dogs, an eviction order and its repeal, police harassment, and cultural renewal as pipeline construction escalates

Photo: Indigenous Environmental Network

Indigenous nations and people are flexing their treaty muscles to Stop Line 3.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Department of Transportation threatened arrests and evictions earlier today at the Red Lake Treaty Camp in Pennington County. The camp is adjacent to lands where Enbridge plans to tunnel Line 3 under the Red Lake River.

The agencies later rescinded their trespass order, indicating that Water Protectors in the area are not required to leave.

That said, law enforcement arrested one person at the Treaty Camp Tuesday. They also brought attack dogs, according to a media release, reminiscent of Standing Rock.

Unlike Standing Rock, however, which focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing, Line 3 runs 337 miles border-to-border through northern Minnesota, crossing more than 200 bodies. Resistance is spread out. Water Protectors use a variety of tactics. Some resist with peaceful presence, exercising their treaty-protected rights to hold ceremony on Line 3 easements. Others lock down to equipment.

In other news today, Water Protectors locked down to Enbridge’s Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) equipment being used to bore a Line 3 tunnel under the Straight River in Hubbard County, according to the Giniw Collective.

On Monday, three Water Protectors connected to a ceremony were arrested in Aitkin County on an Enbridge easement for its second Mississippi River crossing.

Details below.

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