[Note: This updates an Oct. 26 post with new information. The Oct. 26 post has been taken down.]
Minnesota state government spent $1.6 million in law enforcement, concrete barricades, and chain link fencing to “protect” the Capitol during the Treaties Not Tars Sands event, Aug. 23-27, according to data provided by the Department of Administration and the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Seven other agencies responded to DPS’s request for aid. Their costs are not included in that figure.
It’s another chapter in excessive policing of water protectors. It stands in stark contrast to the state’s lax response to Enbridge’s permit violations and the environmental damage done during construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) have utterly failed the public in proactively explaining what is happening on the ground regarding Enbridge Line 3 pipeline construction.
The project has traumatized many Native peoples, who say Line 3 violates their treaty rights and threatens their sacred wild rice. It has traumatized many other citizens, particularly young people, who believe Line 3’s climate impacts will significantly damage their future.
Water protectors on the ground still see problems along the route and struggle to get answers.
It’s the state’s job to inform the public about matters of great public interest. The state’s lack of transparency is inexcusable and infuriating.
The current Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline is more that 50 year’s old. It’s badly corroded and only runs at only 50 percent capacity to reduce spill risks.
Monitoring tools inside the pipeline identify potential problems. When found, workers dig down to the pipeline, inspect it, and make repairs. This is called an “integrity dig.” Enbridge estimated the current Line 3 would need 4,000 integrity digs over 15 years for its safe operation. That’s a lot of digging.
There’s a lot more integrity problems than just one old pipeline. Our entire regulatory system has integrity problems, including its failure to stop the dangerous and unnecessary Line 3 pipeline.
Collectively, we need to dig into this corroded system, understand how it got so compromised, and fix it.
A government-Enbridge alliance is doing all it can to block Minnesota citizens from observing and critiquing the construction of Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.
Tania Aubid, Winona LaDuke, Shanai Matteson and other water protectors arrived around 7 a.m. this morning at the site where Enbridge is drilling a tunnel for Line 3 under the Willow River in Aitkin County. The water protectors found what appeared to be a “frac-out,” the release of pipeline drilling mud into the river.
The state’s response focused more on trying to intimidate the water protectors for their activism than addressing the frac-out, Matteson said.
It’s a sign of the state’s upside down values. It raises questions about the state’s ability and interest in protecting the environment for future generations and who state agencies are working for.
Enbridge new Line 3’s dewatering plan raises hard questions
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved a permit allowing Enbridge to increase its Line 3 trench dewatering by nearly ten fold, up to 5 billion gallons.
The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has written Gov. Tim Walz requesting he tell the DNR to rescind the permit, “until such time as the Department consults with the White Earth Reservation and all other impacted tribes” as promised in Walz’s 2019 executive order.
“Time of of the essence,” wrote Catherine J. Chavers, President of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.
Line 3’s new dewatering permit raises many questions:
Why didn’t it trigger Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order requiring meaningful consultation with Native Nations?
Why is Enbridge requesting such a big increase in dewatering so late in construction?
Why wasn’t there more public engagement in the process?
What are the potential environmental harms from increased dewatering?