A hard look at the State of MN’s commitment to ‘meaningful consultation’ with Native Nations

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan failed miserably to live up to the spirit of their pledge of “meaningful consultation” with Native Nations. Examples include the state’s approval of Enbridge Line 3, MinnTac mine’s ongoing wild-rice-damaging pollution, the proposed Huber Lumber mill, and other environmental issues.

All state agencies are required to have tribal consultation policies on file with the Governor’s Office. Healing Minnesota Stories obtained copies through a Data Practices Act request.

The “meaningful consultation’ agencies provide don’t include any accountability or enforcement measures. Agencies aren’t transparent on how Tribal consultation affects their decisions.

A state law passed last year could strengthen the practice of “meaningful consultation.” Only time will tell.

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As many as six new aquifer breaches possible along Enbridge Line 3 route, court filing says

It’s part of Manoomin (wild rice) litigation before White Earth Appeals Court

The construction of Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline resulted in as many as six aquifer breaches, in addition to the three we already know about.

That information was included in a Friday filing with the White Earth Appeals Court by Manoomin (wild rice), the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and others. It was part of a formal request that the court reconsider their complaint against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for granting Enbridge massive dewatering permits to build Line 3. That dewatering damaged Manoomin and harmed the well being of White Earth residents, the filing said.

The White Earth Court of Appeals dismissed the case March 10. Plaintiffs have provided new information to bolster their motion for reconsideration.

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White Earth Appeals Court dismisses Right of Manoomin suit; Canada tries to sell Indigenous groups the Trans Mountain Pipeline: Buyer Beware!

In this post:

  • White Earth Court of Appeals dismisses Rights of Manoomin (wild rice) suit against DNR
  • Canadian government’s effort to get First Nations to buy financially troubled Trans Mountain pipeline seems cynical
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DNR lacks transparency in holding Enbridge accountable for Line 3’s environmental damage

To those Wisconsin and Michigan residents worried about construction of the Enbridge Line 5 tar sands pipeline: Beware the aquifer breaches and monitor any dewatering permit. Let your state regulators know about the company’s track record and that you expect a stronger state response than what happened in Minnesota.

Here, Enbridge violated state permits where Line 3 construction crews broke through aquifers in three places. In all, these breaches released at least 285 million gallons of groundwater.

We’re only now learning the extent of the damage that occurred last fall. Until this week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has withheld even basic information on two of the three breaches, such as their locations and extent of groundwater loss.

It’s only the latest example of how Minnesota’s regulatory system is set up to help large corporations like Enbridge rather than serve the public interest.

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State and federal regulators continue to treat Enbridge with kid gloves, and other Line 3 news

In this blog:

  • With Line 3’s water damages still unaddressed, a growing call on state, federal authorities to hold Enbridge accountable
  • Support Ron Turney, Indigenous activist documenting ongoing environmental harm along Line 3
  • Truthout: Water Protectors fight trumped-up felony charges
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Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

On Aug. 27, the day following the four-day ‘Treaty Not Tar Sands’ rally, law enforcement turned out en masse to evict anyone who hadn’t left. Photo: Maggie Schuppert

[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.

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State spent $100,000 for Capitol barricades during ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally and unknown law enforcement costs

This post has been taken down as it was out of date. For the most recent information, see: Law enforcement costs top $1.6 million for their presence during the August ‘Treaties Not Tar Sands’ rally at the Capitol

State’s lack of transparency on Line 3 construction disrespects and traumatizes citizens

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.

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