Gov. Dayton Needs to Veto Deeply Flawed Energy Bill that Fast Tracks Enbridge Line 3

People rallied outside the Minnesota House Chamber with signs, drums, chanting and prayers, opposing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline and the Energy bill that supports it. They left a path for House members to get to the chamber.
Rally outside the Minnesota House of Representatives opposing Line 3.

From a blog by the Sierra Club North Star Chapter:

More than 125 people gathered in front of the Minnesota House of Representative’s chambers Thursday for an emergency rally opposing a deeply flawed jobs and energy bill. The bill weakens public review of proposed crude oil pipelines in Minnesota in general, and it specifically fast tracks the Enbridge Line 3 tars sands oil pipeline proposal.

Enbridge wants to replace its badly deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline with a new and larger pipeline – and reroute it in the process. The new path would take it through the Mississippi headwaters regions, risking great environmental damage if there were a rupture. The proposed route also runs through prime wild rice areas and violates treaty rights which give Ojibwe people hunting, fishing and gathering rights to a large section of northern Minnesota.

For full blog, click here.

Is Water Sacred or a Commodity? How We Answer That Question Will Define Our Future

The widely recognized call-and response chant at oil pipeline protests is “Mni Wiconi … Water is Life.” It reflects the view that water is sacred and essential. Others view water very differently, treating it more like a tennis shoe or a soft drink — something that can be bought and sold.

There does not appear to be common ground. If we say that water is both “life” and a “commodity” subject to the marketplace, we essentially are saying we are OK with life being sold to the highest bidder.

This week, Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis hosted a Water Justice Conference, including a webcast bringing in international speakers. Among them was Archbishop Thabe Makgoba from St. George’s Cathedral in Capetown, South Africa. Clean water is an issue that unites those who are working on environmental issues and those working to help the poor, he said.

“We must stand against industrial policy that threatens water,” Makgoba said. “We must understand the issues and language of clean water. [We must] engage those who are willfully or mindlessly polluting to face [these issues].

There are any number of reasons we all should be concerned about significant threats to clean water, from oil pipeline leaks to water futures markets.

Consider the following. Continue reading

Upcoming Events: Storytelling Wednesday, Doctrine of Discovery Screening Friday

Wednesday: Winter Gathering and Storytelling event

Wicoie Nandagikendan and Division of Indian Work (DIW) invite you to their Winter Gathering and Storytelling event on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 6-8 p.m., at the Division of Indian Work, 1001 E. Lake Street. (Wicoie Nandagikendan is an early childhood language immersion program in Dakota and Ojibwe.)
Food and healthy beverages will be provided.

Friday: Documentary Film on the Doctrine of Discovery

Olivet UCC, 1850 Iglehart Ave. in St Paul, will host a screening of the film: Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code this Friday, 27. The evening starts and  6:00 p.m. with an Indian Taco Dinner, Fellowship Hall followed by the movie.

The Doctrine of Discovery refers to the religious and legal justification used by Europe’s colonial powers to claim lands occupied by indigenous peoples, seize their property and forcibly convert or enslave them. The Doctrine has its roots in 15th century papal edicts granting Spain and Portugal permission to seize foreign lands as long as no baptized Christians had a prior claim. The “Discovery Doctrine” was put into U.S. law through a series of 19th Century Supreme Court decisions. It still applies today.

Here is a link to the trailer.


Trump Spokesman Suggests Green Light for DAPL and Revival of Keystone XL Pipeline

An ABC news clip posted by the Independent has White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting Donald Trump will not only push through the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) but revive the previously rejected and very controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

In the brief clip, Spicer says DAPL and Keystone are areas where “we can increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America’s energy supply more.”

The energy sector, and our natural resources, are an area where I think the president is very, very keen on making sure we maximize our use of natural resources to America’s benefit.

The Independent’s story starts out:

President Donald Trump will likely overturn a permit denial that prohibited the construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which was the focus of months of massive protests by Native American and garnered global attention.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not provide specifics about Mr Trump’s plans regarding continuing construction of the DAPL and the Keystone XL Pipeline, but he gave first hints that the new administration would move forward with the project.

Thumbs Up: Name Change Pondered for Ramsey Middle School

Alexander Ramsey (Wikimedia)
Alexander Ramsey (Wikimedia)

Minneapolis’ Ramsey Middle School is named for Alexander Ramsey, a controversial Minnesota Governor known for his role in the Dakota U.S. War of 1862, the exile of Dakota people from the state, and approving bounties for Dakota scalps. Students, staff and parents are discussing the possibility of renaming the school, according to an article in the Southwest Journal. (The Journal is a neighborhood newspaper covering Southwest Minneapolis. Disclosure: I used to write for the Journal.)

The reporter interviewed a student advancing the name-change idea:

“We want a name to represent who we are as a school,” said eighth-grader Olivia Bordon, one of the students behind the push. “I don’t think Alexander Ramsey is a person who deserves honor.”

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Presbyterian Church USA Urges Phillips 66 — a Major DAPL Investor — to “Reconsider”

This is the second in a series of blogs exploring how religious communities who are Standing with Standing Rock are reviewing their investments for ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Part I reviewed ELCA investment policies. Today we look at the Presbyterian Church’s investment policies. Will their investments change?

The Presbyterian Church USA has a formal position supporting the Standing Rock Nation and its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). It also is taking action, showing its support is more than just words. On Dec. 7, the Presbyterian News Service published a story about how the church is urging Phillips 66 to reconsider its investment in DAPL. It starts out:

The Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) submitted a shareholder resolution to the Phillips 66 Corporation on November 22 urging it to reconsider its investment guidelines as they pertain to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and future projects.

At issue with Phillips’ significant investment in the $3.8 billion DAPL project are the environmental and human rights concerns raised by those opposed to the pipeline, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

This is part of a growing effort to use financial pressure to stop DAPL. It is one option outside of the political arena where people and institutions can make a difference, vote their values with their money, and bring about social change.

The Presbyterian Church is a large institutional investor, socking away money for retirement plans for its many employees. It has $1.7 billion invested through its foundation, and around $9 billion (2015) in its pension fund. It’s the kind of big investor that can help influence corporate decisions.

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