During pandemic spike, state needs to bar Enbridge Line 3 construction and its influx of out-of-state workers

PUC to hear Red Lake, White Earth requests for pipeline delay on Friday

Native Nations, environmental groups, file suit today to block MPCA’s Line 3 permit

Native Americans are bearing a disproportionate burden of the coronavirus pandemic and getting inadequate government support.

It’s true nationally and in Minnesota. Here, Gov. Tim Walz’ administration has put Indigenous lives at risk by failing to delay Enbridge Line 3 construction and the pandemic risks it entails.

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Red Lake, White Earth ask PUC to stop Line 3 construction until legal challenges are decided

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated where the motion was filed. It was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

In a motion filed today at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Red Lake and White Earth nations have asked for a “stay” of Enbridge Line 3 construction until the Court makes a ruling on pending legal challenges.

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Thank you Governor Walz! State refiles Line 3 pipeline appeal

Groups opposed to the Line 3 tar sands pipeline filed appeals today to overturn Enbridge Line 3’s permits at the Minnesota Court of Appeals .

Gov. Tim Walz

In terrific news for those opposing the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, the Minnesota Department of Commerce late today announced it would refile its appeal to stop the project. (Thanks to MPR’s Dan Kraker for the tweet.) The case now heads to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Walz administration faced a Wednesday deadline to file its appeal. The Governor hadn’t indicated which way he was leaning. The pressure was on.

Earlier today, Indigenous Nations and environmental groups filed a joint appeal to reject Line 3’s permits. Group representatives called on Walz to renew the state’s appeal at a press conference outside the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

“Yet again, the PUC has refused to acknowledge the reality that Line 3 would pose untenable costs to Minnesota, all to deliver tar sands oil we don’t need,” Sierra Club North Star Chapter Director Margaret Levin said in a media release. “Their bad decision — ignoring state’s agencies’ recommendations, and based on a faulty process — would be devastating for Minnesota’s clean water and communities. The Court must reject the PUC’s decision once and for all.”

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MPCA offers PR spin about what ‘meaningful’ tribal consultation means in Line 3 review

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA’s) commitment to environmental and racial justice is being tested and it’s not doing that great. It gets an incomplete at best.

At issue is the MPCA’s environmental review of Enbridge’s plans to build a tar sands crude oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. To proceed, Enbridge needs the MPCA to approve a water crossing (Section 401) certificate. The proposed Line 3 crosses a lot of water — more than 200 streams and other water bodies and 79 miles of wetlands.

Native Nations have offered strong opposition to Line 3 for violating treaty rights and its threats to clean water and wild rice. Both the pipeline’s construction and future spills would endanger northern Minnesota’s environment.

So what were the MPCA’s goals for engaging Tribal communities in this important decision, and how well did it meet them?

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News and Events: Standing Rock Film Screening, Youth March for Fossil Free Future, and More

News and events in this post:

  • Oct. 8: Augsburg Native American Film Series: The Eagle and The Condor–From Standing Rock with Love.
  • Oct. 28 Our Right, Our Future: March with Minnesota Youth for a Fossil Free Future
  • Construction on Keystone XL Begins Near Rosebud as Three Native Nations Sue to Stop It
  • Minneapolis City Council Accepts the Red Lake Nation’s Help to Relocate Homeless Camp

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Red Lake Nation Votes to Evict Enbridge Pipelines; Native Youth to Visit Pope, Ask Him to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

The Red Lake Tribal Council voted last week to evict Enbridge crude oil pipelines from sovereign tribal lands. Enbridge, a major Canadian crude oil pipeline company, has four lines that cross 8 acres of Red Lake land; they were built decades ago, apparently without proper land title search.

According to the March 16 story:

The land in question was originally ceded by the Red Lake band to the federal government in 1889. But it was never sold, so in 1945, the U.S. Department of the Interior restored the land to the tribe.

In the 1980s, the BIA discovered that Enbridge’s pipelines appeared to be in trespass on Red Lake land.

The federal government never resolved the problem. Red Lake started pushing the issue back in 2007. Red Lake and Enbridge had negotiated a land swap and $18.5 million cash deal, but Red Lake pulled out of that deal earlier this year and now is taking the next step to tell Enbridge to remove its pipelines.

Pipeline opposition is sweeping through Indian Country. Red Lake and other Native nations opposed construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock in 2016. Red Lake strongly opposes the construction of a new Enbridge Line 3 across northern Minnesota.

Rerouting the four existing pipelines off of Red Lake land would cost Enbridge $10 million, the story said. (That’s less than the $18.5 million Enbridge had on the table, but that amount included back pay for the decades of trespass on Red Lake lands. That issue remains unresolved.)

Red Lake member Marty Cobenais pushed for the measure to force Enbridge to remove all of its existing pipelines from Red Lake lands. Continue reading