An update on criticism of MPR’s coverage of Enbridge Line 3 and human trafficking risks

On June 2, I published the blog: “MPR fails to cover Line 3’s connection to human trafficking and recent trafficking stings.

The post recounted how four workers on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline have been arrested in two separate human trafficking stings, one in February, one in late June. It went on to say that not only did MPR fail to cover the stings, but according to an MPR website search, it hadn’t written anything about the concerns and connection between Line 3 and human trafficking.

Some readers, including my friend Jami, wrote the MPR newsroom and pressed them to cover the issue. She got a response which requires a small correction to my initial story, but it doesn’t change the broader critique of MPR’s uncritical Line 3 coverage.

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Proposed legislation to waive building codes for traditional Dakota earthlodges, and other news

In this blog:

  • Legislation would waive building codes, allow traditional Dakota structures
  • Buddhists and friends invited to Water Protectors Welcome Center Feb. 28
  • Civil Rights arm of the bar association links environmental racism to higher pandemic rates and other harms
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Acknowledging my mistake, thankful for the reminder

Dear Readers: It’s important to admit when you make a mistake and this is one of those times.

I have gotten deserved push back on yesterday’s blog on the looming March 8 trial of Derek Chauvin, who’s charged with the murder of George Floyd. That post leaned heavily on a statement from the city of Minneapolis about its plans to reopen 38th and Chicago — George Floyd Square — after the trial.

Several friends have written, upset the blog lacked any community voices critical of the city’s plans. It was a great reminder. A hallmark of this blog is that it centers marginalized voices and stories, not institutional ones. I understand why people reading the blog felt I had broken trust with that mission.

I rushed to run a piece of news the traditional media was reporting anyway. I regret not holding off until I could center community voices to provide critical perspective and shape the story. A follow-up is in the works. Thanks to everyone who wrote for getting me to refocus on what’s core to the blog.

Line 3 updates and images: What will Biden do?

Submitted by Laura Triplett as part of a U.S. District Court filing supporting an injunction against Line 3 construction. (Photo by Alexander Aman, interpretation by Triplett.)

In this blog:

  • Line 3 update and images
  • Next ‘Watch the Line’ monitor training Thursday, Jan. 28
  • In the Dakota language, January is the ‘Hard Moon’
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Engaged Buddhists hosting virtual training on Line 3 resistance

A training is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 5 p.m. to help Buddhists and others interested in getting an update and getting engaged on Line 3 resistance.

There is no need to register. Here is the link to join.

Facilitators are:

  • Dawn Goodwin, RISE Coalition, Anishinaabe, White Earth
  • Nookomis Debra Topping, RISE Coalition, Anishinaabe, Fond du Lac
  • Jewell Arcoren, Sisseton Wahpeton, Dakota
  • Scott Russell, white, Healing Minnesota Stories 
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Minnesota’s environmental watchdog approves environmentally damaging project

No bark. No bite. MPCA rolls over, approves Enbridge Line 3 permit

Agency uses PR spin to justify its flawed decision.

As expected, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today approved a water crossing permit for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.

Enbridge is expected to begin construction sometime this month.

Gov. Tim Walz and MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop talk a good game about addressing climate change and environmental justice. This Line 3 decision makes clear they don’t live up to their promises.

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Corporate cancel culture

Billboard company refuses ad on risks of rebuilding Husky Refinery in Superior, Wisc.

Rejected billboard.

Lamar Advertising Corp., one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world, has refused to run billboards in Superior, Wisc. critical of rebuilding the Husky Refinery and touting the benefits of green energy, Honor the Earth said in a news release.

An equipment failure resulted in an explosion and fire at the Husky Refinery on April 26, 2018. It injured 36 people and forced the evacuation of thousands of Superior residents, the Star Tribune reported.

“The evacuations were ordered because of concerns that a release of hydrogen fluoride (HF) from the refinery could produce a deadly gas cloud. … Under the worst-case scenario, up to 180,000 people in the region surrounding the Lake Superior port community could have been hurt or killed if the blast had compromised a tank of hydrogen fluoride that sat within 200 feet of the Husky fire, according to a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

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MN Council of Churches makes anti-racism core to its work, launches multi-year truth and reparations effort

Rev. Billy Russell, chair of the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) Board of Directors characterized its past racial justice work as “a bunch of noise.”

In September, the Council’s Board voted unanimously to launch a multi-year effort at truth telling, education and repair with Indigenous and African American communities. Russell and other council leaders held a Zoom media call today to publicly announce their plans and explain why it would be different from previous efforts.

“We made noise every time something happened, from Philando Castille up til now, we’ve made noise,” said Russell, who is President of the Minnesota State National Baptist Convention and Senior Pastor at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

People would want to pray, or protest, or participate in some events, but nothing led to long-term change, he said. “I think this move right now is saying, ‘We’re going to make a difference,'” he said. “I support this move. “It’s time. It’s past time.”

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With court challenges and permit pending, prep work ramps up on Line 3

Line 3 work preparations near Backus, Minn.

Activity has picked up at an Enbridge storage yard near Backus, with five large trailers, 10 or so porta potties, and a number of trucks with out-of-state plates, according to reports from Line 3 scouts.

Precision Pipeline of Eau Claire, Wisc. applied for the storm water permit for the 45-acre storage yard, according to the application submitted in August.

It’s unclear whether the trailers are work space or housing. Regardless, it means that as the coronavirus infection rates are increasing in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, an influx of workers could increase local transmission.

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