Today, on the one-year anniversary of oil flowing through Enbridge’s new Line 3 tar sands pipeline, Honor the Earth has released a video showing the extent of unreported construction damage.
“We are only beginning to understand the extent of Enbridge’s damage to our fragile fresh water systems – compounded by their botched attempts to fix it,” Honor the Earth said in a media release.
“Minnesota state agencies have not done enough to keep the public informed or ensure our water is safe. Instead, state regulators have continued protecting the Canadian multinational. But the new video evidence says it all: Enbridge has done even more damage than previously known, and they don’t know how to fix it. They must be held accountable and stopped.”
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa got a significant victory Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, where a judge ruled that Enbridge Energy and its Line 5 pipeline had trespassed on Reservation lands and unjustly enriched itself since 2013.
In the 56-page ruling, Judge William Conley said the Band was entitled to financial compensation. He stopped short of granting the Band’s request that Enbridge immediately cease pipeline operations across its lands.
“[A]n immediate shutdown of the Line 5 pipeline would have widespread economic consequences,” and have significant implications “on the trade relationship between the United States and Canada,” Conley wrote.
[Update: Getting valid feedback that this isn’t a win. Here’s one comment: “This ruling seems in no way a victory for the Band, except in short-term monetary gain. Basically, Enbridge got what it wanted–the opportunity to bribe the Band (now it’s a forced bribe) to keep the pipeline operating.”]
Every time a new crude oil pipeline is proposed, community efforts to stop it get better and better.
Such is the case with efforts to stop the new Enbridge Line 5 in Wisconsin. People mobilizing to stop it have created a virtual tour of a critical portion of pipeline route so others can see the potential harm.
They did a fantastic job of combining a map, narrative, and photos. Check it out here.
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.
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.