EPA urges U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consult Native Nations on Line 5 decisions, honor ‘reserved treaty rights’

In the fall of 2021, 17 federal agencies agreed to coordinate and collaborate “for the Protection of Tribal Treaty Rights and Reserved Rights.”

It didn’t get signed in time to affect decisions on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota, but it could make a difference in the federal review of the proposed rebuild of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline across northern Wisconsin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referenced the commitment to honor treaty rights in a March 16 letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) regarding an Enbridge Line 5 permit application. The letter specifically urged the Corps to consider how Line 5 would impact the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s “reserved treaty rights” to hunt, fish, and gather on the land they ceded to the U.S. government.

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Upcoming events celebrating water, treaties, and Indigenous communities

In this post:

  • Water is Sacred Gathering at the Mississippi Headwaters, June 3-5
  • Golden Valley Native American Community Celebration, June 4
  • June 6 Webinar: Indigenous leaders in Canada share their experiences meeting with Pope Francis
  • Treaty People Walk along Superior’s South Shore, June 11-25
  • Shell River Revival: Three weekends this summer, June – August
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EPA puts PolyMet permit in serious doubt based on mine’s projected harms to Fond du Lac Band waters, and more

In this post:

  • EPA comes out against PolyMet mine based on threats to Fond du Lac Reservation waters
  • Indigenous women push Biden,Army Corps to stop Enbridge Line 5
  • Online presentation: Networks among colonial elites who profited as treaty signers
  • Indian Country in particular threatened should Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade
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Understanding the Regulatory/Industrial Complex’s ‘Pipeline Playbook’

File: Line 3 construction

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Enbridge Line 3 in Minnesota, Enbridge Line 5 in Wisconsin and Michigan, and other crude oil pipelines have had, or continue to have, controversial paths towards approval.

With the exception of Keystone XL, corporate interests have won out over strong public resistance and weak regulatory oversight. 

Pipeline firms have got the go-ahead on massive infrastructure projects in spite of their their treaty violations, their troubling track records, and their long-term environmental costs, including their significant climate damage.

The Regulatory/Industrial Complex has a Pipeline Playbook that needs to be named and called out.

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Events: ‘Communities by the Water’ event celebrating the love of clean water, benefits for Line 3 legal defense fund, and more

In this post:

  • Communities by the Water, a gathering and response to extractive projects such as Enbridge Line 5, June 25
  • “Music for the Movement” benefits for the “Stop Line 3 Legal Defense Fund,” April 10 and 18
  • Community Conversation about the future of the Upper Lock at Owámniyomni, St. Anthony Falls, April 12
  • Support Ron Turney!
  • A bit of wisdom
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EPA raises red flags on Enbridge Line 5’s environmental and tribal impacts

Minnesota DNR belatedly provides new information on Line 3 aquifer breeches

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had raised a number of warnings about Enbridge’s plan to replace its Line 5 tar sands pipeline, including the pipeline’s impact on water quality and Native nations.

The pipeline would run through the watershed that feeds into the Kakagon-Bad River Slough Complex, which abuts Lake Superior. It’s an environmentally sensitive area: 10,760 acres of mostly undeveloped sloughs, bogs, and coastal lagoons, critical to the lake’s health.

For instance, the area harbors “the largest natural wild rice bed on the Great Lakes,” according to the Ramsar International Treaty. “[T]hese wild rice beds are becoming increasingly fragmented on Lake Superior – as the only remaining extensive coastal wild rice bed in the Great Lakes region, it is critical to ensuring the genetic diversity of Lake Superior wild rice.”

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‘Pipelines and Indigenous Communities’ three-day conference this weekend

The conference “Pipelines and Indigenous Communities: Extractive Infrastructures & Water-Dependent Livelihoods” will be held this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 18-20.

It will be held online only. Participation is free.

“This gathering will bring together Indigenous citizens and environmental leaders, Water Protectors, artists, and researchers from the Arctic, Siberia, and Upper Midwest Great Lakes regions to share experiences, explore knowledge, and discuss resistance strategies concerned with pipeline development,” organizers said.

Register here.

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The Black Snake keeps slithering: Stop Line 5

The protracted resistance to Enbridge Line 3 was unable to stop the pipeline from becoming operational — for now — but efforts to stop the flow of toxic tar sands oil is far from over.

Enbridge Line 3 trenched through northern Minnesota, ending at a terminal in Superior, Wisc. Enbridge’s next step is to build a new Line 5 from Superior, through northern Wisconsin, continuing into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, crossing the Great Lakes, and ending in Sarnia, Ontario.

Line 5 carries 540,000 barrels of tar sands crude daily. It’s strongly opposed by the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin and the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan and people concerned about its environmental damage.

“The Line 5 expansion plan threatens the Apostle Islands, Copper Falls State Park, and the thriving recreation and tourism economies of northern Wisconsin,” The Sierra Club Wisconsin wrote. “Enbridge wants to use the same drilling method that poisoned waterways and aquifers in Minnesota, which could irreversibly pollute drinking water for Wisconsin residents and family farms. A spill would be disastrous for the Bad River Tribe and their extensive wild rice beds and fisheries on Lake Superior.”

Here’s one easy step you can take to oppose Line 5.

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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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