Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights, says the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had not done enough to respect indigenous rights in the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline debate.
Lindsey wrote a letter to the PUC as part of the final comment period on the state’s environmental impact statement (EIS). At issue was whether or not the state would require a traditional cultural properties survey along the proposed pipeline route prior to signing off on the EIS. Lindsey said it was important to get the survey right before moving forward; the PUC ultimately disagreed, approving the final EIS last week.
According to Lindsey’s Feb. 27 letter:
Refusing to recognize Tribal nations’ rights, needs, and concerns on a project that impact their land is a detriment to all indigenous peoples, to our state, and to our democracy. Human rights are advanced when we recognized historical injustices and make changes to our systems so they do not occur again. MDHR supports a process in which Tribal nations are consulted and listened to as true partners in this complex project.