U.S. State Department an Embarrassment at Tar Sands Meeting; Other News Updates

The U.S. State Department hosted a public meeting in Bemidji Tuesday to get public comments on a permit to increase the amount of tar sands oil piped through northern Minnesota. Instead of putting its best foot forward, the State Department offered a deadly mix of fear and indifference to Native voices and those from the environmental community.

Reflecting a state of fear and mistrust, the State Department used a security screening process that forced people to stand outside in the cold too long before they could get into the meeting. In a show of indifference, its public meeting process failed to effectively engage the public in conversation or include key federal decision makers.

I traveled with a busload of people from the Twin Cities to Bemidji for the meeting. Here is a link to a blog I wrote for the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter: U.S. State Department Complete Embarrassment at Tar Sands Public Meeting. Continue reading

Water Protectors Lack Needed Legal Help in Court; Updates on Pipeline Leaks; Upcoming Event: Storytelling and Winter Gathering

Hundreds of water protectors were arrested trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, and now that their court dates are coming up they don’t have adequate legal defense, according to an article in Think Progress. The article, published Dec. 15, starts out:

Trials for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters begin next week, but there aren’t enough attorneys to take their cases. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department lists 264 people who have no lawyer at all, and the 265 people who have been assigned public defense attorneys aren’t receiving adequate counsel.

Continue reading