Line 3: Don’t be distracted from the true danger

Screen grab of Unicorn Riot’s feed showing part of Friday’s protest.

Friday’s bomb scare in Carlton County will be used by some to make water protectors seem dangerous, shifting attention away from real dangers posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Water protectors were demonstrating against Line 3 in Carlton County Friday. As the event was happening, the county received a 9-1-1 call reporting a “suspicious device,” the Sheriff’s Office said. A news story called it “a suspicious package thrown into a pipeline construction area.”

The county’s response was quick and perhaps excessive. It called in the bomb squad. Law enforcement evacuated 40 nearby residences within a half-mile radius of the device. Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake called in regional and federal law enforcement. She’s calling for maximum charges and penalties.

There was no bomb. Still, placing a “replica device” that causes fear and panic is a crime.

The incident occurred near Camp Migizi, an Indigenous-led frontline resistance camp, but the protests that day were several miles away from where the incident occurred.

There’s been no information released that ties the incident to Camp Migizi or the protest. There have been no arrests. Yet without evidence, Enbridge and others are blaming water protectors.

Continue reading

Enbridge Line 3’s COVID Preparedness Plan has no teeth

On Dec. 2, the day after Enbridge started construction of its Line 3 pipeline, the company updated its COVID Preparedness Plan with state regulators.

The plan was part of a compliance filing for Line 3’s Route Permit, approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The plan seemed deficient, lacking transparency and enforcement. Healing Minnesota Stories wrote the PUC to ask why it didn’t require a stronger plan.

PUC Executive Secretary Will Seuffert wrote back: “the Commission did not require Enbridge to file any plans related to COVID-19, and did not approve the COVID-19 prevention plan.”

Continue reading

This Day in History, Feb. 6, 1850, a broken treaty sets in motion the Sandy Lake Atrocity

Minnesota leaders still disregarding treaties today

The Red Lake and White Earth nations are suing in the Minnesota Court of Appeals to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, arguing it violates their long-standing treaties with the U.S. government. The treaties of 1854 and 1855 guaranteed them the right to hunt, fish, and gather in lands they ceded, they say. Line 3 construction and future oil spills threaten those rights.

The state of Minnesota has turned a blind eye, approving Line 3 permits and allowing Enbridge to begin construction before courts resolve the treaty rights dispute. The failure goes all way up the ladder to Gov. Tim Walz.

It should come as no surprise. Minnesota was born of broken treaties.

On this day in history, Feb. 6, 1850, President Zachery Taylor signed an executive order that broke several treaties with the Chippewa. Taylor took that action at the behest of Minnesota’s Territorial Gov. Alexander Ramsey and other Minnesota leaders.

This executive order — and a corrupt scheme by Ramsey to advance his own financial and political fortunes — would lead to the deaths of 400 Chippewa people.

Continue reading

Health Commissioner Malcolm: State to ‘closely monitor’ Line 3 path for COVID-19 outbreaks, and ‘adjust, as appropriate’

Give credit to Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm for responding to a question regarding the state’s decision to approve construction of Line 3 at the same time the state expects a coronavirus surge.

Healing Minnesota Stories has sent inquiries to a number of health and public health officials asking about the wisdom of allowing Line 3 work to proceed considering the health risks. Malcolm is the first to respond. We will post other responses if and when we get them.

On its face, the decision to allow Line 3 construction now seems illogical. The state just put the brakes on various forms of social engagement to slow the pandemic, yet it seems to have a different standard for Line 3.

The argument seems to be that since the state is allowing other construction projects to proceed during the pandemic that it needs to allow Enbridge Line 3 to proceed, too. That fails to consider some of Line 3’s unique features. The project’s scale is well beyond anything else in the state. It will attract several thousands workers to northern Minnesota. (A video posted on Facebook of a Bemidji Super 8 parking lot reports cars from Texas, Louisiana, California, and Oklahoma.)

Further, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is currently in the Minnesota Court of Appeals arguing to revoke Line 3’s key permits. According to Commerce, Enbridge failed to prove Line 3 is needed. So what’s the rush to build an unnecessary pipeline?

Here is Commissioner Malcolm’s response to Healing Minnesota Stories question, in full.

Continue reading

Silence is not leadership

Reading the tea leaves, it seems Gov. Walz is a Line 3 backer

Gov. Tim Walz has bobbed, weaved, dithered, and ducked through his first term in office, avoiding taking a stand on the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipelines. After the coronavirus, it’s one of the most consequential issues of his tenure.

The pipeline would generate $287 billion in climate damage. It would trench through 79 miles of wetlands. It would cut through state forests. Oil spills would jeopardize northern Minnesota’s clean waters, including wild rice beds. It would violate treaty rights. And by the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s own analysis, Enbridge failed to prove the pipeline is needed.

Yet Walz has given his tacit approval for the project, siding with a Canadian oil pipeline company, international oil shippers, and oil refineries. The project has slid through the state regulatory process with minimal opposition.

Continue reading

Walz’s Covid contradictions: He tells local businesses to ‘pause’ while approving a foreign company’s construction project

Governor has yet to explain himself

In the wake of increasing coronavirus cases, Gov. Tim Walz last month issued what he called a ‚Äúpause” on “social activities, in-person dining, sports, and fitness establishments for four weeks.”

This week, Walz and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency expedited the approval for Enbridge Line 3, issuing its final permit even though they had three more weeks to decide. This means an influx of two thousand workers — or more — from outside the area, heightening risks of pandemic spread.

During the past two days, Healing Minnesota Stories has called and emailed Walz’s media office and that of Jan Malcolm, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, seeking comment on how they viewed the health risks from Line 3 construction crews. Neither has responded.

Minnesota citizens deserve answers from their leaders.

Continue reading

Three ways to support Line 3 resistance, and a critique of Gov. Walz

In this blog:

  • Contact Attorney General Keith Ellison and the MN Department of Commerce, tell them to seek an injunction on Line 3
  • Contact Gov. Walz and tell him to get his pandemic priorities straight, stop Line 3’s influx of out-of-state workers
  • Frontline Line 3 resistance continues; needs bail funds
  • Walz ‘refused to listen to the science,’ Sierra Club says
Continue reading

The Walz administration is hypocritical in approving Enbridge Line 3

More than half of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA’s) Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned today over the agency’s decision to approve a key permit for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan is distancing herself from Gov. Tim Walz’s support for the project.

The state’s decision to approve Line 3 has polluted the legacy of both Gov. Walz and the MPCA, and shines a spotlight on their hypocrisy.

Continue reading

Governor envy

Michigan’s Whitmer nixes crude oil pipeline under the Great Lakes while Minnesota’s Walz administration greenlights crude oil pipeline that threatens state lakes and streams

It’s a tale of two states, Michigan and Minnesota.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that the state was revoking and terminating Enbridge’s easement to operate crude oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

They cited Enbridge’s bad-faith efforts to protect the environment and Enbridge Line 5’s threat to the Great Lakes.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota DNR announced this week they would allow Enbridge to build a crude oil pipeline trenching through 355 miles of northern Minnesota, threatening climate, clean waters and treaty rights.

Continue reading