Walz ducks Line 3 and its harms in State of the State address

The destruction is massive and ongoing

Line 3 work at ground level: Construction in Aitkin County near Highway 169 in January.

In tonight’s State of the State speech, Gov. Tim Walz avoided any mention of Enbridge Line 3 and the devastation happening right now in northern Minnesota. This fits with his position since elected; he’s ignoring the damage to the state’s cleanest waters and wetlands, to Indigenous rights, and to the global climate.

He’s pretending he has no power or role to play.

For those bothering to look, Line 3’s destruction at ground level is harrowing. We’ve witnessed the endless piles of cut trees, the burning slash piles, enormous vehicles rumbling over fragile soils, millions of gallons of water pumped from the ground in trench “dewatering” zones, and preparations to bore under the Mississippi River (at two locations).

Seeing Line 3 construction from the air, we also can grasp the enormous scope of the operation, and better understand how – if the project is allowed to continue – it will cause permanent changes to the forests and wetlands that it crosses.

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Ten ways structural racism permeated Enbridge Line 3 decisions, and continues to influence them

Structural racism has played a significant role in Enbridge Line 3’s approval and law enforcement’s responses to water protectors.

Structural racism, as defined by The Aspen Institute Round Table on Societal Change, is:

A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.

Aspen Institute on Societal Change

Here’s a top ten list of structural racism in Line 3 decisions. Got more to add? A critique? Submit them in the comments section, below.

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Line 3 updates: Enbridge, PUC field tough questions in court; “Operation River Crossing,” and more

  • PUC rejects nearly $100,000 in Line 3 reimbursements sought by the Beltrami County Sheriff
  • Northern Lights Task Force launches “Operation River Crossing” for Line 3
  • Enbridge faces tough questioning on the need for Line 3
  • U. of M. students press Regents to denounce and defund Line 3, seek public support
  • Stronger Together to Stop DAPL, Line 3 event Tuesday, March 30
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Local media fails to cover Line 3’s harms; Michigan cites treaty rights to justify revoking Line 5’s easement

Local media has provided pretty thin coverage of Enbridge Line 3’s harms, including recent news about the human trafficking sting that included the arrests of two Line 3 workers.

The Star Tribune ran one story on the arrests; MPR hasn’t run even one, according to searches of their websites.

The Native American community and allies repeatedly raised concerns about the link between projects such as Line 3 and human trafficking. They warned state regulators about the risk and real-world harm to women and other relatives.

As we wrote yesterday, the PUC approved Line 3 without providing meaningful accountability for Enbridge to monitor and address human trafficking problems. The public has no way of knowing the extent of the problem beyond the recent arrests. No government agency is tracking information about Line 3’s harms, including sexual harassment and human trafficking.

If there’s no data, people are left believing that there isn’t a problem. The fact is, we know little because regulators aren’t looking and local media isn’t reporting on it.

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Court rulings on mining pollution highlight MPCA failings

Minnesotans value our state’s clean waters. As the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it’s core to our identity.

When European settlers started arriving here, the waters were 100 percent pristine. Now 200 years later, most of our lakes and streams are considered impaired to some degree, according the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA’s). Some 65 percent our 27,329 miles of streams are impaired by at least one factor, according to the MPCA’s 2020 report to Congress. Nearly 90 percent of our acreage of lakes are likewise impaired.

The MPCA is supposed to be the state’s leading environmental protection agency, the guardian of our precious clean water.

It is not. Turns out, that award goes to the Minnesota court system.

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Line 3: Don’t be distracted from the true danger

Screen grab of Unicorn Riot’s feed showing part of Friday’s protest.

Friday’s bomb scare in Carlton County will be used by some to make water protectors seem dangerous, shifting attention away from real dangers posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Water protectors were demonstrating against Line 3 in Carlton County Friday. As the event was happening, the county received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

The county’s response was quick and perhaps excessive. It called in the bomb squad. Law enforcement evacuated 40 nearby residences within a half-mile radius of the device. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake called in regional and federal law enforcement. She’s calling for maximum charges and penalties.

There was no bomb. Still, placing a “replica device” that causes fear and panic is a crime.

The incident occurred near Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-led frontline resistance camp, but the protests that day were several miles away from where the incident occurred.

There’s been no information released that ties the incident to Camp Migizi or the protest. There have been no arrests. Yet without evidence, Enbridge and others are blaming water protectors.

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How the U.S. stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan

In researching the history of Indian Boarding Schools in Minnesota, I came across the story of how the U.S. government stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan people. (The federal government calls them the Yankton Sioux Tribe.)

In Dakota, Ihanktonwan means “People of the End Village People,” according to the Ihanktonwan Community College. “The Ihanktonwan are also known as the ‘Land of the Friendly People of the Seven Council Fires,'” known in Dakota as the Oceti Sakowin.

Historically, the Ihanktonwan’s role included protecting the sacred Pipestone Quarry, Wikipedia says,

The U.S. government took away that sacred duty.

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This Day in History, Feb. 6, 1850, a broken treaty sets in motion the Sandy Lake Atrocity

Minnesota leaders still disregarding treaties today

The Red Lake and White Earth nations are suing in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, arguing it violates their long-standing treaties with the U.S. government. The treaties of 1854 and 1855 guaranteed them the right to hunt, fish, and gather in lands they ceded, they say. Line 3 construction and future oil spills threaten those rights.

The state of Minnesota has turned a blind eye, approving Line 3 permits and allowing Enbridge to begin construction before courts resolve the treaty rights dispute. The failure goes all way up the ladder to Gov. Tim Walz.

It should come as no surprise. Minnesota was born of broken treaties.

On this day in history, Feb. 6, 1850, President Zachery Taylor signed an executive order that broke several treaties with the Chippewa. Taylor took that action at the behest of Minnesota’s Territorial Gov. Alexander Ramsey and other Minnesota leaders.

This executive order — and a corrupt scheme by Ramsey to advance his own financial and political fortunes — would lead to the deaths of 400 Chippewa people.

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