Gov. Walz Executive Order Affirms Government-to-Government Relationship with Native Nations

Gov Tim Walz

Enbridge Line 3 could provide order’s first significant test

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan met with leaders of Minnesota’s Native nations Monday in Morton, Minn. and held a ceremonial signing of an Executive Order that recognizes and supports “the unique status of the Minnesota Tribal Nations and their right to existence, self-govern, and possess self-determination.”

The order officially went into effect on April 5. According to a media release from the Governor’s office issued at that time, “the order applies to all state agencies and was made in consultation with both agencies and tribal governments as it was written.”

“This order ensures the State of Minnesota and the eleven tribes engage in true government-to-government relationships built on respect, understanding, and sovereignty,” said Governor Walz. “We are committed to meaningful consultation with the tribal communities in our state.” (Emphasis in original.)

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May 31 Hearing Set to Comment on PUC’s Public Engagement Process

The Office of Legislative Auditor has set a public hearing to take comments on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) public engagement process. It will be Friday, May 31, 10 – 11 a.m. in the Minnesota State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Room 10.

The May 31 hearing won’t be the only opportunity for the public to comment. People can submit comments online through the Legislative Auditor’s website or by e-mailing team leader Laura Schwartz directly at laura.schwartz@state.mn.us. Legislative Auditor staff also will be conducting one-on-one interviews. Continue reading

Pro Line 3 Group Drops $247,000 on Facebook Ads; MN Senate Proposes New Felonies for Pipeline Opponents

A pro-Enbridge Line 3 pipeline group spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars since November on Facebook ads to sway Minnesotans’ perceptions of this unnecessary and risky project.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate today approved new felony crimes for those who trespass on pipeline property or damage pipeline equipment or property.

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State to Audit PUC’s Flawed Public Engagement Process

The Minnesota Legislative Audit Commission voted this morning to review the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) public engagement process, a process that came under heavy criticism during its recent handling of the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline case.

(For details, see: PUC Staff Oversteps Authority, Shows Bias Against Pipeline Resisters.)

Legislative Audit Commission Chair Rep. Rick Hansen said there was bipartisan support for the PUC review. “It is somewhat unique, because it’s both public participation but it’s also commerce, energy, environment all kind of wrapped together,” he said after the meeting. “It’s a good and timely topic.” Continue reading

PUC Could Get Needed Scrutiny from the Legislative Audit Commission

Your voice is needed now to get more accountability at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for its poor public engagement process. It’s particularly important given the flawed process and disrespect shown towards opponents of the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota.

Each year, the Minnesota Legislative Audit Commission chooses a small number of research topics to make sure state agencies and programs are well run, are accountable and have appropriate legislative oversight. The Commission has a list of 10 possible research topics for the coming year and a review of the PUC public engagement process is one of the possible topics. This Friday, the Commission will choose the five to get done.

The window of influence is closing quickly, but here is how you can get engaged and make the PUC review a priority. Continue reading

This Day in History (March 24, 1999): Mille Lacs Band Wins Landmark Treaty Rights Case at the U.S. Supreme Court

On this day in history, March 24, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa had the treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, and gather on the lands the Band ceded to the U.S. government by the 1837 treaty.

This treaty has particular relevance today. Anihsinaabe bands (called either Ojibwe or Chippewa by early settlers and treaty documents) are resisting the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota based on similar claims to hunting, fishing and gathering rights along the pipeline’s proposed route.

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