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
Continue reading

As Enbridge races to finish Line 3 construction, more suspected frac-outs

Water Protector Shanai Matteson points to the Willow River frac-out. Screengrab from Honor the Earth video.

On July 6, water protectors found an Enbridge Line 3 frac-out at the Willow River.

On Monday, Honor the Earth reported a suspected Line 3 frac-out at the Shell River. [Update July 22: The MPCA says there was no frac-out on the shell. It did report that Enbridge has had frac-outs at nine different construction sites. Updated blog coming soon.]

Today, the Indigenous Environmental Network reported a suspected Line 3 frac-out near the Mississippi headwaters. (Video here.)

Details of the frac-outs are still coming in.

It’s possible to see frac-outs on the surface of rivers and wetlands. There could be other frac-outs below the surface that remain unseen.

How many frac-outs will it take for state regulators to require something different, or do they dismiss frac-outs as an acceptable environmental cost?

Continue reading

Indigenous leaders calling on allies to come north and stand with them against Line 3

[CORRECTION: This blog was updated to indicate that Line 3 construction could be completed in three weeks, based on Enbridge’s reported data. Enbridge itself didn’t make that claim.]

Based on Enbridge’s progress reports to the state, if it’s able to maintain its current construction pace, all Line 3 pipe will be in the trenches and buried in approximately two to three weeks. Enbridge has made public statements that it expects to start running the pipeline by the fourth quarter of the year.

Front line camps (resistance camps, prayer camps, treaty camps) are asking for people to come north and stand in solidarity.

Continue reading

Line 3 updates: More arrests and protests, and the need to support front-line, Indigenous-led resistance

In this blog:

  • 14 more arrests in Line 3 resistance, total now 40
  • Peaceful protest Tuesday, Jan. 5, in Superior, Wisc.
  • More ways to support Line 3 front line resistance
  • Upcoming Line 3 trainings: Watch the Line, Engaged Buddhism, TakeAction MN
  • After nearly a century, University of Minnesota plans to return Indian artifacts
  • Standing Rock devastated by COVID-19
Continue reading

Line 3 opposition, law enforcement response, ramp up

Et tu, DNR? Conservation officers now part of the state’s protest push back

Seventeen water protectors were arrested today in Aitkin County and were being held in jail overnight.

They were arrested at the site where Enbridge plans to bore under the Mississippi River for its new and larger Line 3 tars sands pipeline. Also, a nearby 10-day tree sit ended today when police brought in a crane.

Tree sitter before the police brought in a crane.
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

The pipeline company that cried ‘Wolf!’

Honor the Earth asks the PUC to investigate Enbridge’s false alarm

Once upon a time, there was a pipeline company from Way Up North that said it couldn’t ship all the oil it wanted. It issued a proclamation calling it a Very Big Problem.

Its pipeline needed to run through the Lands Down South. The pipeline company requested a right of passage from local leaders. It told these leaders that its current pipeline was old and ailing and a new one was desperately needed.

The townspeople in the Lands Down South had no use for this new pipeline. They said they did not want it. They said they did not need it. Yet the rulers of the land were befogged by a magic spell and ran to aid the pipeline company.

Continue reading

Thank you Governor Walz! State refiles Line 3 pipeline appeal

Groups opposed to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline filed appeals today to overturn Enbridge Line 3’s permits at the Minnesota Court of Appeals .

Gov. Tim Walz

In terrific news for those opposing the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, the Minnesota Department of Commerce late today announced it would refile its appeal to stop the project. (Thanks to MPR’s Dan Kraker for the tweet.) The case now heads to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Walz administration faced a Wednesday deadline to file its appeal. The Governor hadn’t indicated which way he was leaning. The pressure was on.

Earlier today, Indigenous Nations and environmental groups filed a joint appeal to reject Line 3’s permits. Group representatives called on Walz to renew the state’s appeal at a press conference outside the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“Yet again, the PUC has refused to acknowledge the reality that Line 3 would pose untenable costs to Minnesota, all to deliver tar sands oil we don’t need,” Sierra Club North Star Chapter Director Margaret Levin said in a media release. “Their bad decision — ignoring state’s agencies’ recommendations, and based on a faulty process — would be devastating for Minnesota’s clean water and communities. The Court must reject the PUC’s decision once and for all.”

Continue reading

Legislative Auditor Report: PUC has done “poor job” in public engagement

Winona LaDuke: ‘PUC has a systemic blind spot in dealing with Native tribes’

Sierra Club: ‘A bad process leads to bad outcomes’

PUC: ‘Improved public engagement is a priority’

The Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor released a report today critical of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and its public engagement process. The PUC has done a “poor job” in helping the public engage in its complex review process, it said. Specifically, the PUC was “not adequately prepared” for engaging the public during the controversial Enbridge Line 3 pipeline hearings.

The report makes a number of recommendations, such as directing PUC leadership “to provide more oversight of the agency’s public participation processes” and to “better prepare for cases with significant public interest.” (Summary here.)

The 98-page report disappoints in one aspect: It fails to clearly call out that, at least in the case of the Line 3 hearings, the PUC’s public engagement failures focused on Line 3 opponents. The report doesn’t explicitly name staff bias as a problem that needs addressing, and it does.

Continue reading