Approximately 50 Anishinaabe leaders, faith leaders, and environmental activists occupied an intersection in downtown Bemidji for about three hours Wednesday to continue to bring attention to the tremendous risks posed by the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline and to pressure Gov. Mark Dayton to take a stand opposing it.
Simultaneous to the Bemidji action, other water protectors occupied the anteroom at Dayton’s Capitol office with laptops to Live Stream the event. Twenty-six water protectors eventually received disorderly conduct citations from Bemidji police when they refused the order to disperse.
Dayton has declined to take a position on Line 3. For the past year, he has said he wanted to wait and let the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) make its decision. That decision came in June, and it was irresponsible. The PUC went against the advice of state regulators and the Administrative Law Judge reviewing the proposal and approved Line 3.
The project threatens Minnesota’s clean waters and the world’s climate. The main beneficiary is a large Canadian corporation.
Dayton’s silence is his tacit approval with the project moving forward. The action was meant to let Dayton know that opposition is not going away.
Call the Governor at 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717 and let him know that you expect him to do everything in his power to ensure that the Line 3 tar sands pipeline is never built.
Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, stood before a crowd of hundreds of people Monday afternoon at Leif Erickson Park to state the shared belief of many religious leaders that the state should reject the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline on moral grounds.
“Oftentimes the faith community historically has been on the wrong side, particularly as it relates to indigenous communities and sovereign nations who we are in relationship with.” DeYoung said. “Today we decided to be on the right side.”
The event, held just west of the state Capitol, included civil rights songs, a Jewish cantor, a brass band, chants, and a Buddhist moment of silence. It included indigenous prayer and truth-telling. It included a number of brief speeches from religious leaders from different traditions. But the event’s main goal was to Stop Line 3. To that end, the group delivered an interfaith letter opposing Line 3 to both Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Some 540 faith leaders signed.
Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light is hosting an interactive discussion on treaty rights and crude oil pipelines, Sunday, Feb. 25th, 1-3 p.m., at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel Ave., Saint Paul. Here is the Facebook post.
The discussion will include the history and continued significance of treaties in Minnesota, and the impact of the proposed Line 3 pipeline on treaty rights today.
Quick background: Canadian pipeline company Enbridge has several tar sands crude oil pipelines running through northern Minnesota. (They enter the state’s northwest corner and run southeasterly to connect with other pipelines in Superior, Wisc.)
Enbridge Line 3 is old and failing. Enbridge’s plan is to abandon Line 3 in the ground and build a new and larger pipeline along a new route. The new route avoids crossing reservation lands, but it does cross large areas of what is known ans 1855 treaty territory. These are lands where the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) have protected rights to hunt, fish and gather. The Line 3 review process has done little to nothing to recognize those treaty rights.
Line 3’s new route also crosses the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Rev. Robert Two Bulls will lead the Sunday discussion. He is a Missioner for the Department of Indian Work and Multicultural Ministries of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota.