Young people bird dog Minnesota’s U.S. Senators on Line 3 stances

It’s a great disappointment that Minnesota’s two U.S. senators have shown no leadership in stopping the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. They’ve avoided taking a position altogether. Young people have been trying to catch up with them, get them to support the Line 3 resistance, and urge President Biden to pull the pipeline’s permits.

In other news, Canada’s invoking treaty rights to keep Enbridge Line 5 operating in Michigan when treaty rights have been roundly ignored in Minnesota around Line 3.

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Line 3: Martineau declines award; Enbridge Line 5 mediation ends; U.N. committee presses U.S. on human rights abuses of the Anishinaabe

In this blog:

  • Taysha Martineau declines award, rejecting corporate climate hypocrisy
  • Mediation talks on Enbridge Line 5 in Michigan end with no agreement
  • U.N. Committee seeks U.S. response to allegations of human rights abuses of Anishinaabe people resisting Enbridge Line 3
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Line 3 resistance now focuses on Biden

One piece of broader effort to stop pipelines

Darrell G. Seki Sr., chair of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and Michael Fairbanks, Chair of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe wrote a strong letter to President Biden last winter asking him to shut down Enbridge Line 3 by executive order.

They asked Biden to respect Tribal sovereignty and treaties. “As elected leaders, we wish to state clearly that the Bands never gave consent for the construction of the pipeline through our treaty lands,” the Feb. 2 letter said. “In fact, the Bands’ governing bodies have each enacted multiple Resolutions throughout the course of the five-year regulatory process in opposition to the 338 miles of pipeline construction through the largest concentration of wild rice watersheds in the United States.”

With Walz being a wallflower in the Line 3 debate, Tribes, water protectors and their allies have ramped up presidential pressure.

Last month, more than 300 organizations “representing Indigenous groups and national and local organizations, sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling on him to immediately suspend or revoke Enbridge’s Line 3 permits,” WECAN reported.

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Grandmothers stand against Line 3, Bay Mills Indian Community banishes Enbridge Line 5, and other news and events

In this blog:

  • Grandmother to Grandmother, Stop Line 3, Wednesday (today) at noon
  • 13th Annual Mde Maka Ska Canoe Nations Gathering, Friday at 8 a.m.
  • Walk with Migizi, Friday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Bay Mills Indian Community banishes Enbridge Line 5
  • Private museums that accepted federal COVID relief money might have to repatriate Indigenous artifacts and remains in their collections
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Enbridge disagrees with itself on state’s pipeline safety role

For more than six decades, Enbridge’s dual Line 5 pipelines have run four miles along the bottom of the Great Lakes, exposed to the elements. The pipelines carry tars sands crude and natural gas liquids across the Straits of Mackinac, the narrow waterway connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

The pipelines are moving oil “near delicate wetlands and through fish spawning habitats where swift currents pull water between the Great Lakes,” The Narwhal says. Michigan scientists, conservationists and tribes have been “warning that Enbridge’s Line 5 was a disaster waiting to happen,” the article said.

For more than five decades, the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline has operated along a 282-mile corridor across northern Minnesota. It passes through sensitive wetlands and wild rice waters, crossing rivers and streams with some of the state’s cleanest waters.

Line 3 is in such bad shape, it can only operate at half capacity. State regulators worry it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

When it comes to addressing Minnesota’s aging Line 3 and Michigan’s aging Line 5, Enbridge offers different interpretations about the state’s role in pipeline safety.

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Weekend Reads: Prairie Island Community prepares a move; New Doctrine of Discovery video, and more

In this blog:

  • Worries over nuclear waste, flooding, have Prairie Island Indian Community preparing to move
  • Presbyterian Stony Point Church in New York becomes Sweetwater Cultural Center to preserve indigenous culture and lifeways
  • New Doctrine of Discovery video: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts
  • Enbridge security firm stokes fears of water protectors

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Enbridge, Inc. has a history of trying to shelter assets to avoid liability from major crude oil spills

Did the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission build in adequate financial protections should a new Line 3 crude oil pipeline burst? Minnesotans should worry.

Enbridge Inc., a giant Canadian crude oil pipeline company, has a history of trying to use a corporate shell game to avoid responsibility for the clean-up costs from a major crude oil spill.

Liability coverage is a significant point of contention around the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. The proposed 340-mile pipeline route would cross more than 200 waterbodies and pass through more than 75 miles of wetlands, according to project documents. It would pass through and near wild rice beds. It would pass near drinking water sources. The question is: should this pipeline get built, could Enbridge cover clean-up costs from a major spill?

Let’s be clear. A Line 3 spill would be disastrous and impossible to clean up fully. Tar sands crude oil is heavy and sinks, making it difficult to clean up. The tar sands crude is viscous and difficult to pump through pipelines. Producers add toxic chemicals to help the tar sands crude oil flow. A spill would release those toxic additives into the environment. A spill in a fragile ecosystem such as a wild rice bed would do long-term damage.

Money would not solve the spill. Still, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) sought to ensure Enbridge would be on the hook for clean up costs.

It did a poor job.

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Enbridge is becoming a toxic brand

Enbridge’s brand is losing its luster.

The Cloquet City Council rejected a $1,000 donation from Enbridge. Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar recently announced she would return donations she received from an Enbridge employee. Enbridge faces other legal and safety challenges.

[Update: The Cloquet City Council reconsidered the vote. It accepted Enbridge’s donation.]

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Pipeline Updates: Breathing Room on Line 3 Construction, the Necessity Defense Gains Ground, and More

Lots of news to share on the pipeline front, short summaries and links follow

  • Positive sign: Enbridge tells shareholders Line 3 construction won’t start until year’s end
  • Massachusetts judge affirms “Necessity Defense” for civil disobedience against pipeline causing climate damage
  • Michigan Governor stops Enbridge Line 5 tunnel under the Great Lakes
  • “Stop bankrolling Line 3” event
  • Enbridge’s greenwashing

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Enbridge Updates: Problems in Minnesota, Problems in Michigan

Wikimedia Commons

Tar sands crude oil pipeline company Enbridge repeatedly has shown itself to be an untrustworthy 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.