In Approving Major Crude Oil Pipelines, Consulting with Native Nations is Not Enough; the Goal is Consent

When it comes to crude oil pipeline projects, Indigenous concerns and opposition all too often get marginalized by decision makers.

Such conduct violates the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a commitment both the United States and Canada support. The Declaration says that governments should get Indigenous nation’s free, prior and informed consent before “adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”

What happens in practice is that the powers-that-be have a “conversation” with Native nations, check the “consultation” box, and think they’re done. That’s not good enough.

The latest example comes from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota. It has found government documents that show how little Indigenous concerns mattered when it came to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Continue reading

As Key Enbridge Line 3 Vote Looms Monday, Encouraging News in Other Pipeline Resistance Efforts

Proposals to build new crude oil pipelines are an investment in an old and failing energy infrastructure. They reflect a world view that favors short-term profits over the long-term health of local economies and the planet itself. Investors make money off selling refined gas, but shift long-term costs to future generations — costs from destructive oil mining practices, costs from future oil spills, and costs from climate change.

It is no wonder that Native nations and indigenous advocates have lead efforts to stop new crude oil pipelines, as they hold to a world view that considers the impacts of decisions seven generations into the future.

As we head into what is expected to be a frustrating Monday meeting at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding the future of Enbridge Line 3, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on some recent wins. They are a reminder that this work takes years, allies continue the resistance, and we do have victories. Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees with Trump Administration to Temporarily Halt Youth Climate Suit and Other News

News in this blog:

  • In a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with Trump Administration request, halts trial sought by children and youth to force the United States to act on climate change.
  • PBS starts four-part series Tuesday called “Native America,” which “reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and over 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents.”
  • Canadian Court Temporarily Blocks Kinder Morgan Pipeline permit, says National Energy Board failed to consult with First Nations.

Continue reading

Fond du Lac OK’s Line 3 Crossing its Lands; Commerce Continues Criticism of Enbridge’s Liability Insurance

Two new filings came into the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today. One, a joint letter by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Enbridge Energy, announced they had reached agreement to allow the new Line 3 to cross the Fond du Lac reservation. In the letter, Fond du Lac also agrees not to oppose the pipeline. In the other filing, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reiterated its concerns that Enbridge has inadequate insurance coverage to pay for a major spill cleanup.

In other news, a federal court dealt a significant set back to the Kinder Morgan tar sands crude oil pipeline.

Continue reading

Oglala Sioux Win Court Victory Stopping Uranium Mine and Other Weekend Reads

The Oglala Sioux Tribe won a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, stopping the planned Dewey-Burdock uranium mine, at least for now, according to a story in Lakota Country Times.

On Friday, July 20, 2018, the Court ruled in Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Nuclear Regulatory Committee that the committee failed to consider the potential impacts the mine would have on the environment. The Oglala Sioux Tribe had argued that the proposed 10,000-acre mine would permanently damage its resources including, water, cultural artifacts, and historical sites. …

The Court did not revoke the company’s license as desired by Water Protectors. It did, however, force the case back to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for further consideration in light of its discussion in the decision. It also prevented the company behind the mine from conducting any work that disturbs the ground.

In addition to the positive outcome, this gives some small measure of hope for the upcoming legal battles to stop Enbridge Line 3. Click on the link above for the full story. Keep reading for more articles. Continue reading

Indigenous Prayer Camp in Canada Opposes Line 3; Kinder Morgan Pipeline, Oil Tanker Traffic, Threatens Orcas

Passing along a couple of items from my inbox: An indigenous prayer camp in Manitoba will oppose the Line 3 at the U.S. boarder crossing and a new Canadian tar sands crude oil pipeline to British Columbia will threaten the already stressed orcas in Puget Sound because of the increased oil tanker traffic it will generate.

Continue reading

News Updates: Faith Leaders Stepping Up to Oppose Line 3; U.S. Crude Exports Hit Record High; and More

Here’s a quick news wrap on issues related to Enbridge Line 3.

‘This is a moral issue’: Faith leaders team up against Line 3 oil pipeline: MPR reports on a Monday event where religious leaders from different faith traditions are speaking with one voice against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline. The event starts at 2 p.m. just west of the Capitol in Leif Erickson Park.

Comment: Here is the Facebook event page with more details. Hope you can join us! (The event is being sponsored by Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light and the Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for Moral Revival. The campaign is uniting 40+ states in 40 days of action around the impacts of and connections between Structural Poverty, Systemic Racism, Ecological Devastation, and the War Economy.)

U.S. Oil Exports Eat Into OPEC Market Share In Asia. The website OilPrice.com is reporting that U.S. Asian crude oil exports are increasing. (OPEC and Russian agreed to production cuts, an apparent effort to boost prices.) According to the story:

The United States is expected to export 2.3 million [barrels per day] of crude oil in June, including 1.3 million [barrels per day] bound for Asia, according to estimates by a senior executive at a U.S. oil exporter who spoke to Reuters.

U.S. crude exports hit a record high 2.566 million [barrels per day in the second week of May, EIA [U.S. Energy Information Administration] data shows.

Comment: While the U.S. is still a net crude oil importer, it’s important to note that our crude oil exports are peaking. It says we are importing more crude oil than we need for our own energy security. In addition, according EIA data, the United States is now a net exporter of finished petroleum products (gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, etc.) This should be sufficient reason for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to reject Enbridge Line 3, which seeks to increase Canadian crude oil imports into the United Stats. It is not needed.

Gov. Dayton Vetoes ‘Guilty by Association’ Bill that Favored Outside Corporate Interests Over MN Democracy. The Land Stewardship Project reports that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed “a bill driven by outside corporate interests with the intent to chill dissent and curtail free speech. The ‘Guilty by Association bill would have imposed criminal and financial liability on those who attend or support a peaceful protest where critical infrastructure is damaged by a separate individual. During the announcement, Governor Dayton said he was concerned it could lead to conspiracy charges for ‘mere conversations.’”

Comment:  This is a win. Thank you, Gov. Dayton!

Canadian Government announces it will purchase Kinder Morgan Pipeline for 3.45 billion US. Indian Country Today reports that the Canadian government “will purchase the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline — a controversial pipeline that runs from the Alberta oil sands to the country’s pacific coast — for $3.45 billion.”

Comment: This is a blow to the provincial government of British Columbia which had opposed the project. It also means there are other outlets for the Alberta Tar Sands Oil to get to market other than through northern Minnesota.