Nawayee Center School Robbed and Vandalized, Fundraiser Created for Repairs

Over the Thanksgiving weekend Nawayee Center School, a 7-12th grade school that serves primarily Native American youth in the Philips neighborhood of Minneapolis was broken into and robbed.

The intruders trashed the school, destroyed beautiful artwork that students had been working on for months, stole the field trip vans, and even took the pet hamster. The staff, students, and families of Nawayee Center School are deeply saddened by this devastating incident. Center School staff is asking for your help in raising money to cover the loss of supplies, as well as money towards the restoration of the damaged building.

Here is the Go Fund Me page. In two days, the campaign exceeded its $10,000 goal, but it is an under resourced school. Everything helps. (Note to HMS friends: Long-time Healing Minnesota Stories member Bob Klanderud is on staff at Nawayee.)

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DAPL Documentary Now Available Online for Free (and a Correction)

For those of you unable to make the theater premiere of Black Snake Killaz: A #NoDAPL Story, the documentary is now online and available to stream for free, courtesy of Unicorn Riot. Just click on the link.

My earlier post PUC to Vote Thursday, Dec. 7 on Line 3’s Environmental Impact Statement listed the incorrect time for the Public Utilities Commission vote. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

Enbridge Updates: Problems in Minnesota, Problems in Michigan

Wikimedia Commons

Tar sands crude oil pipeline company Enbridge repeatedly has shown itself to be an  trustworthy partner. Here are the two latest examples.

Enbridge withheld information from the state of Michigan about problems with Line 5, the portion which passes underwater in the Straits of Mackinack (between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan). According to an Oct. 27 AP report published by WOOD TV, Enbridge says it knew about pipeline damage 3 years ago:

The company that operates twin oil pipelines in a Great Lakes waterway says it knew three years ago that protective coating had been damaged but didn’t inform regulatory agencies.

Enbridge Inc. says a gap was opened in enamel coating on one section of Line 5 in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac as a support anchor was being installed in 2014. The coating gap is one of several that have exposed bare metal on parts of the pipelines.

That led to strong criticism by the Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, released that same day:

“Trust and transparency are critical in any relationship. This latest revelation by Enbridge means that the faith and trust Michigan has placed in Enbridge has reached an even lower level. Enbridge needs to do more than apologize, Enbridge owes the citizens of Michigan a full and complete explanation of why they failed to truthfully report the status of the pipeline.”

In related news, Honor the Earth has criticized the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for its inaction after it found out that Enbridge had made false statements its applications for Minnesota pipeline staging areas. For several years now, Enbridge has been stacking up pipeline around northern Minnesota in anticipation of getting state approvals for Line 3. It had to get storm water construction permits in 2014 and 2015 to create these staging areas. Enbridge indicated on its online form that the project had all necessary environmental reviews — which it did not.

MPCA did not catch the mistake until this March. And it is taking no action against Enbridge. According to Honor the Earth’s post:

These violations have irreparably undermined the state’s ability to conduct an objective process for reviewing the projects and determining if they are in the state’s best interest….

This has also introduced enormous bias into the court of public opinion, as rural communities across Northern Minnesota have now spent years living with pipe for the proposed project transported on their roads and piled in their backyards.

Indigenous Chefs Resist Media Efforts to Label Them a Trend

OK, I wasn’t going to post on Thanksgiving, but this Washington Post article seems appropriate. Headlined ‘This is not a trend’: Native American chefs resist the ‘Columbusing’ of indigenous foods, the story quotes Sean Sherman, the Sioux Chef.

The story says:

Native American chefs, whose foodways the culinary establishment has long neglected, have lately found themselves in high demand by a food media hungry to churn out trend pieces and by food-savvy urbanites eager to try cuisines they view as “exotic.” First it was Filipino food, then Hawaiian, then Jamaican. Now, recent coverage in food publications is calling Native American food the next big thing. And that’s precisely the problem.

“This is not a trend,” says Sherman. “It’s a way of life.”

Click on the link above if you want the full read.

PUC to Vote Thursday, Dec. 7 on Line 3’s Environmental Impact Statement

Honor the Earth map of Enbridge Line 3.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is scheduled to vote on the Enbridge Line 3 environmental impact statement (EIS) Thursday, Dec. 7, starting at 9:30 a.m. at its regular meeting space in Metro Square, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul.

The public will not have an opportunity to speak, but public presence sends a message to the PUC that people are watching.

To recap: Enbridge’s existing Line 3 is old and failing; Enbridge wants to abandon it in the ground. (Bad idea.) It has proposed a new and larger pipeline along a new route through northern Minnesota. It threatens the Mississippi headwaters, lakes, rivers and wild rice areas. It violates the interests of Ojibwe people who have reserved treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather along lands crossed by the pipeline.

The EIS decision is one of several key  Line 3 votes. Should the PUC find the EIS “inadequate” it would not kill the project, but would likely delay it. The EIS would need further work. (A project delay would also cost Enbridge money.) Even if the PUC approves the EIS, the PUC still needs to vote on Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Plan. Those votes are not expected until April.

The EIS has been criticized by indigenous and environmental groups. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, in cooperation with six Chippewa bands and Honor the Earth, has released its own draft environmental impact statement, called the Tribal Cumulative Impact Statement.

Here is the PUC’s Dec. 7 agenda:

1. Should the Commission find that the Final Environmental Impact Statement is Adequate?
2. Should the Commission adopt the administrative law judge’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation?
3. Whether the data identified as Trade Secret in Appendix F and Appendix I of Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership’s Certificate of Need Application for the Proposed Line 3 Replacement Project is public under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

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Bad News, Good News on Keystone XL

The bad news is that the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved the Keystone XL Pipeline through the state on a 3-2 vote. The good news is that it approved an alternative route to the one proposed by TransCanada, a route the company opposes.

Articles from news organizations and environment groups has been quick. An initial article from Politico says this could bring to an end a nearly decades long regulatory battle over the pipeline and Reuters is framing the vote as a win for Trump.

Environmental groups are saying they will continue the fight through the courts and through boycotts. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, looked for a silver lining in today’s vote:

The Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline was just approved by Nebraska’s Public Service Commission, but there is some good news. The PSC has approved an alternative route that TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, has called unworkable.

That means TransCanada still has multiple hurdles to overcome — so this pipeline may never be built. That gives Sierra Club and our allies the perfect opportunity to fight back by urging banks to stop funding Keystone XL.

The Sierra Club is urging members to Send a message to Wells Fargo, a key funder of TransCanada, demanding that they stand with the landowners and tribes along the path of Keystone XL and not fund this dangerous pipeline.

Greenpeace is targeting Chase banks: Share today’s news on Facebook to put Chase Bank and other funders on notice that you are watching and you are not going anywhere. YOU will keep resisting this pipeline.

And court challenges remain. According to Politico:

The pipeline already is the focus of a court challenge stemming from Trump’s State Department approving the project. A coalition of groups is arguing the State Department did not do due diligence before approving the cross-border pipeline in March. The case is still in the beginning stages, with a decision pending from the U.S. District Court of Montana on a Trump administration motion to dismiss.

Native groups also have opposed Keystone XL. I will add their comments when I get them.

 

Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline Storage Yards Appear to Violate Law, MPCA Approved Them with No Scrutiny

Pipeline storage yard near White Earth.

For years, Enbridge has operated large pipeline storage yards around northern Minnesota in anticipation that the Minnesota Pubic Utilities Commission (PUC) would eventually approve its Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline through the state.

However, critics say Enbridge got permits for these storage yards in 2014 and 2015 under false pretenses. It applied online through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for storm water construction permits. It checked the box that said the project had completed all necessary environmental reviews. While that wasn’t true, the permit got electronically approved because all the correct boxes were checked.

The Star Tribune wrote about the controversy today’s paper in an article headlined: Pipeline opponents claim Enbridge skirted permit rules for storage yard: Enbridge in a statement said the “permits were issued in compliance with applicable regulations at the time.”  A key passage says:

Under law and MPCA regulations, permits such as those for Enbridge’s pipe yards aren’t supposed to be issued before the completion of an environmental review for an entire project. The MPCA wrote to Enbridge in March that the pipe-yard permits were approved “prior to completion of the required environmental review” of Line 3.

(Note: It was only this month that the Line 3 environmental impact statement was deemed “adequate” by an administrative law judge, and it still needs final PUC approval.)

These storage yards create the impression that this pipeline is a done deal. They show disregard for the ongoing review and approval process. They are an attempt to bias the project.

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