Native Youth Interrupt Governor’s Water Quality Town Hall; Dayton Promises Private Meeting, But Still Neutral on Line 3

Youth interrupted the Governor’s Town Hall Meeting on Water Quality to speak out against the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline, saying it was a threat to water quality. In the photo, Dayton responds. (The young girls in the front table were not part of the protest.)

Ten or so youth interrupted Governor Mark Dayton’s Water Quality Town Hall meeting in Minneapolis for about 10 minutes Wednesday night to bring attention to indigenous opposition to the proposed tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. The pipeline — Enbridge Line 3 — threatens the state’s clean waters and wild rice areas and violates treaty rights that allow Anishinaabe to hunt, fish and gather on lands the pipeline would cross.

The youth who took the stage included some of the Native youth who are part of the Youth Climate Intervenors working to stop Line 3. The group was recognized by the Public Utilities Commission as an official intervenor because of the members’ youth — they would be living with the consequences of this pipeline for most of their lives. They will be allowed to provide testimony as the process moves into a more legal format. Continue reading

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Dayton Remains Noncommital on Tar Sands Pipeline — Keep the Pressure On!

Governor Dayton remains publicly noncommittal about a proposed expansion of a tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota, in spite of news that broke yesterday that global energy consultants say the project is not needed. MPR ran a story today headlined: State better off without Enbridge oil pipeline, Dayton agency says, which quotes Gov. Dayton’s official response:

“This document will arouse considerable controversy. That discord should be recognized as part of the wisdom of the process,” Dayton said in a statement, adding that he would wait for the “complete record” before offering his personal views.

So, yes, we still have work to do to stop Enbridgeg Line 3 and protect Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, wild rice beds and Anishinaabe treaty rights. Here are two upcoming events, Sept. 27 and 28, where you can be heard.

Thursday, Sept. 28, March, Rally, and Public Hearing on Enbridge Line 3

Join many indigenous, environmental, and youth organizations to send a clear message to the Governor, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and our elected representatives: Minnesotans stand together to HOLD THE LINE to protect what we love and say NO to Line 3 and other pipelines that threaten our water, climate, and communities.

  • 4 p.m. Capitol Rally: Jingle Dress Dancers and Speakers
  • 5 p.m. March to the PUC Public Hearing, Intercontinental Hotel, 11 East Kellogg, St. Paul
  • 6 p.m. Voice your opposition at the hearing!

Here is a Facebook event page.

Wednesday, Sept. 27, Governor’s Water Summit Town Hall Meeting

Governor Dayton has declared 2017 the “Year of Water Action in Minnesota” and has been holding a series of town hall meetings around the state to get citizen ideas on how to improve the state’s water quality by 25 percent by 2025. The Minneapolis Town Hall meeting will be:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N.

According to the Governor: “We have a shared responsibility to protect Minnesota’s precious lakes, rivers, and streams for future generations. That starts with fostering an ethic of water conservation in our communities. Throughout the next year, we must raise awareness of the challenges facing Minnesota’s waters and highlight ways that Minnesotans can take action.”

Attend the Town Hall meeting and let Governor Dayton know that denying permits for Line 3 is critical to protecting our “precious lakes, rivers and streams for future generations.”

The PUC, not Dayton, will make the final vote on the project this spring. But the Governor’s opinion, and bully pulpit, matters

Continue reading

FYI Water Protectors: Governor Dayton is Holding Water Quality Town Hall Meetings

Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith have organized ten town hall meetings around the state giving Minnesotans an opportunity to discuss the water quality challenges, learn from experts, and engage with policymakers. The goal is to spur collaboration and action to improve Minnesota’s water quality 25 percent by 2025.

This is another opportunity for those opposed to the expanded tar sands pipeline through northern Minnesota (Enbridge Line 3) to engage with state leaders and make your voices heard. A major tar sands pipeline spill would set water quality back significantly. Enbridge, a Canadian oil transportation company, has proposed abandoning an existing and failing pipeline (Line 3) and installing a new and larger pipeline, including a partial reroute. The proposed route would cut right through the Mississippi headwaters region as well as prime wild ricing areas. (For more background, click here.)

Here are the cities and dates for the Town Hall meetings.

More news and events follow.

Continue reading

Native Rights Attorney Leventhal Dies; Water Quality Rules for Wild Rice in Flux

Larry Leventhal, a local attorney who devoted his life to defending Native American activists, including those in the American Indian Movement (AIM), has died, according to a story in the Star Tribune.

Leventhal represented AIM in some of its most famous struggles. [AIM co-founder Clyde] Bellecourt said that Leventhal was the first lawyer he called after AIM activists occupied Wounded Knee, S.D., site of an 1890 massacre, in 1973.

Meanwhile, MPR is reporting that the the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is hosting a series of public meetings “on proposed changes to a longstanding rule limiting the amount of sulfate that can be discharged into wild rice waters.”

The state has had a rule on the books since 1973 limiting the amount of sulfate that can be discharged to a specific level. But it’s rarely been enforced.

For the past several years the MPCA has worked on a new rule that proposes to replace a one-size-fits-all approach with a flexible standard that will set a separate sulfate limit for each water body where wild rice grows.

Click on the link above for the full story.