Honor the Earth denounces MN Supreme Court action for failing to protect indigenous rights

The Minnesota Supreme Court today declined to review a case that could have required the state to complete a traditional cultural property survey before it could permit large construction projects such as the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the Minnesota Supreme Court felt more interested in siding with the rights of a Canadian corporation to proceed with a high-risk project than protecting the rights of the Minnesota Anishinabe and indigenous people and the rights of nature,” Winona LaDuke, Co-founder and Executive Director of Honor the Earth said in a statement. Continue reading

MN Court of Appeals Gives Enbridge Line 3 Opponents Partial Win

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that the state’s environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline is inadequate “because it does not address the potential impact of an oil spill into the Lake Superior watershed.” It ordered the issue back before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for further evaluation.

It’s only a partial win.

The Court of Appeals rejected other key arguments made by Line 3 opponents. Opponents argued the environmental impact statement had failed to adequately analyze route alternatives to Enbridge’s preferred route. They also argued the PUC shouldn’t have approved Line 3’s environmental impact statement before the “traditional cultural properties survey” was complete. (Such a survey makes sure projects such as Line 3 take into account potential damage to places of historic and cultural significance.) The court rejected both arguments.

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MN Human Rights Commissioner: State Needs to Listen to Indigenous Concerns About Crude Oil Pipeline

Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights, says the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had not done enough to respect indigenous rights in the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline debate.

Lindsey wrote a letter to the PUC as part of the final comment period on the state’s environmental impact statement (EIS). At issue was whether or not the state would require a traditional cultural properties survey along the proposed pipeline route prior to signing off on the EIS. Lindsey said it was important to get the survey right before moving forward; the PUC ultimately disagreed, approving the final EIS last week.

According to Lindsey’s Feb. 27 letter:

Refusing to recognize Tribal nations’ rights, needs, and concerns on a project that impact their land is a detriment to all indigenous peoples, to our state, and to our democracy. Human rights are advanced when we recognized historical injustices and make changes to our systems so they do not occur again. MDHR supports a process in which Tribal nations are consulted and listened to as true partners in this complex project.

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