Judge Takes Sides in Line 3’s Treaty Rights Debate When She Should Have Stayed Neutral

In her recommendations on the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline, Administrative Law Judge Ann O’Reilly took sides on the critical issue of treaty rights when she should have stayed neutral. Instead, she staked out a legal position outside the scope of her work and one detrimental to the Ojibwe Bands.

O’Reilly is not a treaty law expert. More importantly, O’Reilly’s recommendations are meant for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the PUC isn’t going to take a position on treaty rights. It’s beyond the PUC’s scope. O’Reilly should have stayed neutral and articulated the PUC’s predicament: The PUC can’t decide treaty law disputes yet treaty rights are a critical issue underpinning its Line 3 decision. Continue reading

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Block (Line 3) Party at the PUC: An Act of Celebration and Resistance

Part of the two-day Block Party opposing Enbridge Line 3 included a Water Ceremony at the Mississippi River, led by Sharon Day. (Photos by Scott Russell)
Camp Turtle Island erected a tipi in front of the PUC offices and members spent the night there.

In a month, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is expected to take a final vote on key permits for the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota. Indigenous and environmental groups kept up the pressure opposing the project by hosting a two-day Block Party right in front of PUC offices in downtown St. Paul.

It was called the “Block (Line 3) Party at the PUC,” and it was both a celebration and an act of resistance. The May 18-19 event included a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton’s staff around pipeline issues, a community meal prepared by indigenous grandmothers, a silk screening tent, a water ceremony led by Sharon Day (an Anishinaabe Water Walker), community education, Line 3 updates, and a music concert featuring Annie Humphrey, Jayanthi Kyle, Thomas X and See More Perspective.

Rose Whipple, one of the Youth Climate Intervenors, spoke.

Line 3 is a bad idea, a proposal putting the interests of Canadian oil transportation giant Enbridge and larger oil processing firms over the interests of Minnesotans. Approving Line 3 would set a bad precedent for relocating other Enbridge pipelines throughout the state, increasing harm to the state’s environment, indigenous peoples, and anyone who cares about its waters. Several hundred people attended the event to show their opposition to the pipeline.

Debra Topping, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, and one of the Block Party organizers, was one of many speakers: “Every day I wake up there is something to fight about,” she said “Every single day we get up and fight for our wild rice.”

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Block (Line 3) Party at the PUC May 18-19 — Spread the Word!

File photo

Come join pipeline resisters and water protectors at the Block (Line 3) Party in St. Paul, Friday May 18 to Saturday May 19.  We must come together to show the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) how important the denial of Line 3 is to all of us.

In June, the PUC will make its final vote on whether or not to approve Enbridge Line 3’s Certificate of Need and Route Permit. This Block Party is one of our last opportunities before that vote to educate one another about Line 3’s very real harms and show the PUC Commissioners that many, many Minnesotans oppose this potentially devastating project.

  • Here is a link for the Facebook Event where you can sign up to attend and share.
  • Here is a link to sign up to volunteer at the event.

Invite your friends and family to a weekend filled with lots of opportunities for connecting, sharing, and creating.  Music, food and art are just a few of the highlights you’ll experience during our time together.

The Block Party will run from 2 p.m. on Friday May 18 to 2 p.m. on Saturday May 19. It will be held in front of Metro Square, 121 7th Place East, where the PUC has its offices.

Here is the planned schedule of events:

Friday, May 18:

2:30 PM – Capitol Visit:  Meet in rotunda at Capitol to visit our elected leadership and ask them to stop Line 3! We’ll walk to the PUC for Block (Line 3) Party, arriving by 4 p.m. or earlier.  (Alternative to PUC walk will be offered for people with disabilities)

3:00-6:00 PM – Solutions Fair, Art, & More!  The heart of the action! Bring a t-shirt and get it screenprinted for free with pipeline resistance art (donations accepted to help build an action camp art tent), check out a multitude of community organizations and clean energy groups, and learn about statewide action to stop Line 3.

4:00-6:00 PM – Community Meal:  Enjoy dinner with the community, contributed by volunteers (food quantities limited), concurrent with the Solutions Fair & Art Tent.

6:00-8:30 PM – Concert to Stop Line 3!  A fabulous lineup of musicians from the movement. Bring camp chairs or blankets!

Saturday, May 19:

8:30 AM – Water Ceremony at Mississippi River: Water walker Sharon Day will lead a ceremony starting at the Mississippi River (near Sibley St) and progressing to the PUC. Bring a small container of water from where you live to contribute to the ceremony.

10:00 AM – Line 3 Pledge of Resistance: Let’s show the PUC we’re committed: come sign the Line 3 Pledge of Resistance to commit to take nonviolent action to resist this project or support others who may choose to do so.

12:00-4:00 PM – Direct Action Training or March, Your Choice: Participate in a Direct Action Training at the PUC site hosted by the Line 3 Resistance Training Program OR join the March for Science at nearby Mears Park. Continue reading

Line 3 Abandonment: Enbridge Wants to Leave its Mess for Someone Else to Clean Up

Enbridge’s current deteriorating Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline on the Fond du Lac Reservation. Erosion and other factors have exposed the pipeline above ground (2016). Photos by John Ratzloff.
Close-up of the corrosion on the exposed pipeline’s exterior.

One aspect of Enbridge’s proposed new Line 3 crude oil pipeline in Minnesota needs more scrutiny: The company’s plan to abandon its old Line 3 pipeline in the ground.

Enbridge is a multi-billion dollar company and runs the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. Surely it can do better.

Minnesotans for Pipeline Cleanup recently released a report titled Enbridge’s Mess that highlights the problems around pipeline abandonment.

Line 3 would be the first crude oil pipeline abandonment in Minnesota history. What state leaders allow to happen now sets a precedent for all future pipeline abandonment. Further, Enbridge’s plan would shift future clean-up costs to the next generation of Minnesotans. Continue reading

Introduce Native Rights, Anti-Oil Pipeline Resolution at Your Precinct Caucus, Feb. 6

Map of the current Line 3, the proposed Line 3, and Anishinaabe treaty territory. (Honor the Earth)

Precinct Caucuses are coming up the evening of Tuesday, February 6. Caucuses are the first step in the process that political parties use to develop their statewide party platforms and endorse candidates, including Governor.

Anyone can propose a resolution at the Precinct Caucus. There are many worthy issues that need our attention, but consider introducing a resolution to stop the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline and similar projects through our state.

Enbridge has proposed to abandon its old and failing Line 3 and install a new and larger Line 3 along a new route. The line would come down from Canada, enter Minnesota at the state’s northwest corner, and travel 337 miles to Duluth/Superior. Along the way it would cross the Mississippi headwaters and pass by clean lakes, rivers, and wild rice beds. Significantly it would affect Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) treaty rights. While the new line would not cross reservation lands, the Anishaabe retain treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather across much of northern Minnesota. A spill would affect those rights.

Find your caucus location by clicking here.

Here is proposed caucus resolution language from MN350.

Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline Resolution

WHEREAS, nearly 2.5 million barrels of crude oil already flow through Minnesota daily on Enbridge Energy pipelines;

WHEREAS, the demand for petroleum based products is down 19% since 2004 in the state;

WHEREAS, the route Enbridge Energy is proposing for the new Line 3 “replacement” pipeline cuts through 1854 and 1855 treaty protected territory and the headwaters of the Mississippi;

WHEREAS, the intervention before the Public Utilities Commission by five tribal nations, additional citizens groups and the Department of Commerce’s expert witness and staff, all maintain that the new pipeline is not needed and the old line should be removed;

WHEREAS, a spill of crude oil, and particularly tar sands oil, places water, wild rice, lakeshore property and the tourism industry at risk;

WHEREAS; the tar sands crude oil extraction process has the highest carbon cost of any other fuel and addressing climate change is increasingly urgent;

BE IT RESOLVED that the ____________________ Party supports:

The opposition to any new crude oil pipeline in Minnesota, including Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 “replacement”;

The right of sovereign nations’ to determine what construction projects take place in their respective territories.

 

Commerce Offers Rushed and Incomplete Responses to Draft EIS Criticisms

Fifth in a series of critiques of the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Enbridge Line 3, a proposal to expand and reroute a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. Commerce is taking public comments on the adequacy of the EIS until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2. To learn how to submit comments, click here.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce got swamped with comments to its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Appendix T of the Final EIS chronicles the hundreds of pages of comments received and the hundreds of pages of the Department’s responses.

The final EIS is inadequate because some of the department’s responses do not adequately address the questions and criticisms raised by the public and government officials. Let’s look at a few examples.

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Tribal Liaison For Enbridge Line 3 Quits State Job, Cites Minnesota’s Lack of “Good Faith” Effort

The state’s point person working to elevate Native voices around a proposed crude oil pipeline in northern Minnesota has quit her job, citing a lack of transparency and good faith effort by the state, according to a story in The Intercept.

Danielle Oxendine Molliver, a member of the Lumbee tribe from North Carolina, worked as the tribal liaison for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the lead agency in shepherding the Enbridge Line 3 project through the regulatory process. Line 3 would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, traveling 337 miles through northern Minnesota.

Oxendine Molliver explained her decision to resign in a July 24 letter, quoted in The Intercept article.

“There are a multitude of reasons why I have come to this decision. The single most important one is the failure of the state of Minnesota to fulfill its obligations of good faith and fair dealing with the tribes in connection with the Line 3 project.”

She added, “I feel as though my resignation is the only option to maintain my integrity, commitment, and standing with the tribal communities as both a liaison and indigenous woman.”

It is the latest controversy over Enbridge Line 3. In related news, the first non-violent direct action against Enbridge Line 3 is set for Cloquet this Monday. Here is a link to the event page.

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