Minnesota’s top political leaders — Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and U.S. senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith — have failed to take a stand and show leadership opposing the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline, a dangerous and unnecessary project.
So why is the project still under consideration?
The proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline will run 340 miles through northern Minnesota, crossing more than 200 water bodies and 75 miles of wetlands. It also threatens wild rice areas important to the Anishinaabe.
Stunningly, Enbridge already has admitted to state regulators that pipeline construction won’t meet state environmental standards for protecting water. Adding to the problem, Enbridge hasn’t provided details about which environmental standards it plans to disregard or where. Instead, Enbridge has provided generalities which essentially boil down to: “Trust us.”
Sadly, the “Trust Us” argument appears to have traction among state regulators, another example of the power imbalance favoring industry in the state’s regulatory system. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seemed to have ample trust in Enbridge, approving the project last year over many objections. For instance, it ignored Anishinaabe bands’ claims to treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather on lands and waters threatened by Line 3.
Enbridge Line 3 could provide order’s first significant test
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan met with leaders of Minnesota’s Native nations Monday in Morton, Minn. and held a ceremonial signing of an Executive Order that recognizes and supports “the unique status of the Minnesota Tribal Nations and their right to existence, self-govern, and possess self-determination.”
The order officially went into effect on April 5. According to a media release from the Governor’s office issued at that time, “the order applies to all state agencies and was made in consultation with both agencies and tribal governments as it was written.”
“This order ensures the State of Minnesota and the eleven tribes engage in true government-to-government relationships built on respect, understanding, and sovereignty,” said Governor Walz. “We are committed to meaningful consultation with the tribal communities in our state.” (Emphasis in original.)
Gov. Tim Walz announced today that his administration will continue a lawsuit in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline, according to an MPR report this morning:
“When it comes to any project that impacts our environment and our economy, we must follow the process, the law, and the science,” the governor said in a news release.
When Walz took office, he said he wanted to reevaluate a decision made under the Dayton administration to appeal Line 3’s approval. He has now confirmed that decision.
Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, founder of Healing Minnesota Stories, joined roughly 75 other faith and indigenous leaders who gathered in the Governor’s Conference Room today to pray, sing, hold an Anihsinaabe water ceremony, and make a clear demand that Gov. Tim Walz stop the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline — an unnecessary and dangerous project that violates treaty rights.
“Today, my message to Gov. Walz is that you cannot claim to be an ally to indigenous people when you knowingly introduce toxins into the food and water systems. And that is exactly what Enbridge Line 3 will do,” said Jacobs, who is a member of the Mohican Nation. “… I stand with all of you in hope that Gov. Walz will take heroic action and sign an executive order halting Line 3 where it stands,”
At a minimum, Jacobs said Walz needs to support a Minnesota Department of Commerce lawsuit to stop Line 3, an action begun by former Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration. The suit argues Enbridge failed to prove the new and expanded Line 3 was needed. The Walz administration is now reevaluating the lawsuit and the Governor is expected to announce early next week which side he will take.
Faith leaders and community members from all religious traditions are invited to join a spiritually grounded action against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota on Friday, Feb. 8. The action will be held in solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors. This is a moral action on the pressing issues of climate change and racial justice. Here are the details:
Date: Friday, Feb. 8
Time: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: Governor Walz’s Office, State Capitol, St. Paul. (Gather in the Rotunda at 11:15 a.m.) Continue reading
In the final weeks of his term in office, Gov. Mark Dayton took a stand against approving the Enbridge Line crude oil pipeline. The project threatens clean waters (think Mississippi River and wild rice beds), breaks treaty rights, and generates climate damage equivalent to 50 coal power plants.
Dayton sat on the sidelines of the debate for a long time. But in the end, he supported the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn Line 3’s approval. (See MPR story: Minnesota governor’s administration files Line 3 appeal.)
“I strongly support my Commerce Department’s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s Order,” Dayton said in a statement. “Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law. Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions.”
Gov. Walz. a Camp Wellstone graduate, has taken his spot on the sidelines, going squishy on this critical issue. Walz is undecided on whether to support the lawsuit begun under the Dayton administration. (See MinnPost story: Walz Administration Reconsidering Lawsuit Against Enbridge Pipeline Project.)
He needs to here from constituents. Here’s how.