Honor the Earth, Other Groups, Add New Education Resources to Stop Line 3

New Honor the Earth map on Enbridge Line 3.

If you are a reader of this blog, mostly likely you are strongly opposed to the proposed expansion and reroute of a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota (see map at right).

Enbridge has an old and failing Line 3 (the black line on the map). Enbridge proposes to abandon that line in the ground and install a new, larger pipeline along a new route (the red line on the map.) That new route crosses the Mississippi headwaters and endangers clean lakes, rivers and wild rice beds, and all for nothing. Minnesota’s fossil fuel demand is actually declining.

If you are like a lot of people, you want to have your voice heard but don’t have to time to wade through the hundreds of pages in the recently released draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Even the most ardent opponents struggle to get through it.

But the good news is, they did. As a result, there are lots of easy-to-read fact sheets coming out to help you understand the core issues. Here are a few helpful resources:

We have created a separate Enbridge Line 3 tab on our blog to organize this kind of information about Line 3 and make it easy to find. If you think we are missing content, please send us a comment.

Keep reading to get a taste of some of the fact sheets’ analysis. Continue reading

Next Sacred Sites Tour June 24; Update on Enbridge Line 3; and Trump’s Review of National Monuments

Healing Minnesota Stories Sacred Sites Tour Now Open

Our next sacred sites tour will be Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Meet at Church of St. Peter, Mendota and the tour will car pool from there.

The tour centers around the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, what the Dakota refer to as Bdote, or “meeting place of rivers.” The tour stops include Fort Snelling, the site of the Dakota internment camp following the Dakota-U.S. War, and Pilot Knob Hill, a traditional burial ground.  Tours are led by Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican) and Bob Klanderud (Dakota/Lakota), and offer an opportunity to learn about Minnesota history from a Native perspective through story telling. Come prepared for the weather (rain or shine), and bring your own snacks.

The suggested donation is $20-40 the day of the tour or on-line. Donations support Healing Minnesota Stories programs and events. Register names/email addresses at info@spinterfaith.org.

More items follow.

Continue reading

When Simply Wearing “Water is Life” Becomes a Threatening Protest

Little cardboard hats in the shape of canoes lay on the floor near the security screening area at a recent public meeting on tar sands oil pipelines in Bemidji. Officials have not provided an explanation about why children were not allowed to wear them inside. (Photo by Frank Bibeau.)

When did a cardboard canoe hat made by a child with the words “Water is Life” become a protest, something that needs to be suppressed for the public well being?

Quick background: On March 7, the U.S. State Department held a public meeting in Bemidji to consider a border crossing for a Canadian oil tar sands pipeline. There was a strong turnout and over-the-top security. I wrote a blog for the Sierra Club critical of the event. What I didn’t know at that time was Sanford Center security in Bemidji did not allow young children to wear their handmade cardboard canoe hats inside.

Frank Bibeau, an attorney for Honor the Earth, attended the Bemidji event and brought the issue to my attention. In an email exchange, Bibeau wrote:

I noticed that there was a table with confiscated items. On the floor was a bunch of canoe hats kids had made to wear at the public meeting. But the hats were taken from the kids and the security told them it was because they were signs. …

It is apparent that not all of the canoe hats had written words. Some of it is simply kid art on the side … The question is, what lesson are the kids learning?

In a related incident, Indian Country Media Network (ICMN) reports that the National Museum of the American Indian staff recently asked Native American women to remove jackets for a similar reason. The women were in Washington, D.C. for the Native Nations Rise March, and their jackets “were adorned with patches and pins supporting water protectors and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.” Some of the patches simply said: “Mni Wiconi: Water is Life.”

The Smithsonian has acknowledged its error. The State Department and Sanford Center security have not. Continue reading

U.S. State Department an Embarrassment at Tar Sands Meeting; Other News Updates

The U.S. State Department hosted a public meeting in Bemidji Tuesday to get public comments on a permit to increase the amount of tar sands oil piped through northern Minnesota. Instead of putting its best foot forward, the State Department offered a deadly mix of fear and indifference to Native voices and those from the environmental community.

Reflecting a state of fear and mistrust, the State Department used a security screening process that forced people to stand outside in the cold too long before they could get into the meeting. In a show of indifference, its public meeting process failed to effectively engage the public in conversation or include key federal decision makers.

I traveled with a busload of people from the Twin Cities to Bemidji for the meeting. Here is a link to a blog I wrote for the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter: U.S. State Department Complete Embarrassment at Tar Sands Public Meeting. Continue reading

Army Corps Abruptly Ends DAPL Environmental Review; More Pressure Brought Against Pipeline’s Financial Backers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prematurely scuttled the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a move both expected and discouraging. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and thousands of Japanese protestors have joined the push to divest from the banks backing the pipeline, the Standing Rock Nation is struggling from declining casino revenues, and the FBI investigates DAPL protestors as potential terrorists.

Continue reading

DAPL Faces Deadline and Funding Pressure; More Criticism of DAPL from Financial Markets; New ND Gov Update

The Sierra Club has come out with a helpful update on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), filling in some of the details about the financial pressures and deadlines DAPL faces. To sum it up quickly, DAPL is unlikely to move forward until the Trump administration takes office Jan. 21, and even then it “may not be a simple feat.” And DAPL could start losing key contracts by Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, DAPL is facing criticism from the financial sector. Continue reading

Reflections and Photo Essay on DAPL Day of Action in St. Paul at the Army Corps of Engineers

 

The rally started in Mears Park in Downtown St. Paul.
The rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline started in Mears Park in Downtown St. Paul.

Hundreds of people opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline gathered today in downtown St. Paul to ask President Obama to stop the project altogether. They carried colorful homemade signs and chanted in a call-and-response,”Mni Wiconi … Water is Life!” The rally started in Mears Park and participants then marched to the nearby local headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — an agency that holds a key to the pipeline.

This was part of a National Day of Action against the pipeline, sponsored by indigenous and environmental groups. Locally, the sponsors ranged from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Honor the Earth to the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. According to an MPR story, this was one of 300 rallies held across the country, including 10 others in Minnesota.

The rallies focused on the Corps of Engineers offices. The pipeline company needs an easement from the Corps to bore under the Missouri River. Yesterday, less than 24 hours before the rallies, the Corps announced that the project needed more study. (More here.)

Some continued to Wells Fargo to protest the banks financial involvement in the project.
Some rally-goers continued to Wells Fargo.

Following the rally, approximately 50 people splintered off and marched to Wells Fargo Place. It was an effort to draw attention to the fact that Wells Fargo is one of the 38 financial institutions providing credit to the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners. This is part of an effort to embarrass these banks into pulling their funding. This tactic has had some recent success. (We recently wrote that DNB, the largest bank in Norway and a pipeline financer, is now doing its own investigation into the project. More here.)

Here are four takeaways from the rally, and more photos. Continue reading

Time to Amp Up Pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to Stop DAPL

sign-2With the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) just days away from arriving at the Missouri River near Standing Rock, now is the time to increase public pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

DAPL needs the Corps to issue an easement and a permit to bore under the Missouri River. Instead, the Corps should require more detailed environmental and cultural reviews of DAPL — which it should have done earlier.

In yesterday’s blog, we wrote about the importance of delaying DAPL construction to drive up costs. Today, we outline several key arguments for why more review is needed.

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Obama Says DAPL Reroute is a Possibility; National Day of Action Nov. 15

President Obama is raising the option of rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Obama has been getting a lot of public pressure to take stronger action against the pipeline. A reroute might satisfy some, but probably wont satisfy those who oppose the pipeline because of the environmental damage it will create — no matter what path it takes.

Obama says that ” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether the four-state project can be rerouted in southern North Dakota to alleviate the concerns of American Indians,” according to an MPR report.

Obama told the online news outlet NowThis that his administration is monitoring the situation closely but will “let it play out for several more weeks.” …

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault welcomed Obama’s statement but said the administration and the Corps should go farther and stop work on the pipeline and do a full environmental impact study.

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Hennepin County Board Chair Backs Sheriff’s Decision to Send Deputies to Standing Rock, and More Pipeline Updates

Hennepin County Board Chair Jan Callison supports Sheriff Richard Stanek’s decision to send deputies to North Dakota, according to an email she is sending out in response to constituent opposition to the move.

Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey counties all have sent deputies and equipment as part of a militarized response to the Water Protectors trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Morton County (ND) Sheriff’s Department sought the help through a mutual aid agreement. Stanek’s decision to send deputies has sparked protests. Many Hennepin County residents oppose using local resources to intimidate and arrest the Water Protectors. (Here is an earlier blog.)

Callison said ultimately this was Stanek’s decision, but she supports it based on what she framed as safety concerns. Her email said: “the presence of professional, highly trained law enforcement officers can contribute to a peaceful resolution of highly inflamed situations such as this, a resolution where the rights of all are respected. I think the right answer is to have the right people present who will contribute positively to a fair resolution. And I believe that Sheriff Stanek understands this responsibility.”

That is to say, unlike private security guards, the Hennepin County Sheriffs deputies won’t use mace and attack dogs. However, it still means that our local resources are being used as a part of a disproportionate, highly militarized, and provocative response to silence the Water Protectors. With the current tremendous power imbalance, it is reasonable to ask whether this truly is “a resolution where the rights of all are respected”  or in any way fair. To me, the answer is no.

Here is Callison’s full email, provided by her office.

Many groups have organized against this decision. For example, the Sierra Club North Star Chapter has a letter urging Hennepin County to withdraw its resources. Click to sign.

For many more pipeline updates, keep reading. Continue reading