PUC Casts Final Pro Pipeline Vote: Line 3 Opposition Now Heads to the Courts, Streets, Camps, Pulpits, and Gov. Walz’s Office

The Minnesota Senate Building opens at 7:30 a.m. but the powers-that-be required those wanting to attend the PUC hearing on Line 3 to wait outside in the cold until after 9 a.m. to get inside

As expected, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today rejected requests to reconsider its approval of the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. As predictable as it was, the decision remains heart breaking.

Pipeline Resisters visited with Gov. Tim Walz transition staff Randolph Briley and Alexis Kochanski after the PUC vote.

Red Lake, White Earth, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Honor the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Youth Climate Intervenors, and Friends of the Headwaters had asked the PUC to reconsider approving Line 3. Commissioners summarily and unanimously dismissed their request, 5-0. The PUC continued to ignore the Environmental Impact Statement’s conclusion that Line 3 would generate $287 billion in climate damage. It continued to ignore the Administrative Law Judge’s findings that approving Enbridge’s preferred route failed to meet the cost/benefit test. It continued to ignore Commerce’s conclusion that Enbridge failed to prove Line 3 was needed. It continued to ignore the impacts the pipeline would have on treaty rights.

The PUC took no comments from intervening parties asking for reconsideration. The whole process probably lasted five minutes, enough time for a few commissioners to say they had already considered these issues and there was nothing more to talk about.

The PUC gave Enbridge pretty much everything it wanted. It’s an example of corporate capture, where the government institutions created to protect the public get co-opted by corporate interests. Its the Minnesota version of what is happening with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Tell Governor Dayton it’s Time to Take a Stand on Line 3: Action Planned this Sunday

Gov. Mark Dayton (image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Governor Mark Dayton said he would not take a position on the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted on the project. He wanted the process to run its course, he said. He opposed legislative efforts to meddle in the approval process, too.

The PUC voted 5-0 Thursday to approve Enbridge Line 3’s Certificate of Need, an extremely disappointing vote. The PUC voted 3-2 to approve Enbridge’s preferred route, with one exception. The approved route will jog around Big Sandy Lake, a sacred area to the Anishinaabe. (Star Tribune article here.)

It’s time for Governor Dayton to take a stand.

To add your voice to this call, attend a rally planned outside the Governor’s Mansion, 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, at 4 p.m. this Sunday, July 1. (Facebook event here. Check for updates.) Stop Line 3 is organizing the event, which is co-hosted by Honor the Earth, MN 350 and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.

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PUC Discusses Protests After Line 3 Vote, Police Response and Sex Trafficking

Day Four of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) deliberations on Enbridge Line 3 included concerns about  possible civil disobedience after the vote, how law enforcement should respond, and plans to mitigate the sex trafficking and drug problems that can follow these large construction projects. Continue reading

Enbridge Line 3 Gets Late Backing from U.S. DOT; Honor the Earth Starts ‘Welcome Water Protectors’ Campaign

MPR reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration is a late entrant into the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline debate — recommending the state approve the Canadian company’s request. The letter, arriving at the 11th hour, could foreshadow Trump administration intervention on Line 3, similar to what it did on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Today was Day Two of four scheduled meetings for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to debate and vote on Enbridge Line 3. The process already appears to be taking longer than expected. Continue reading

Upcoming Events: An Art Opening, A Film Screening, A Book Launch

Here are upcoming events — come if you can!

  • ReImage Minnesota: An Art Opening: Students offer an alternative vision for art in the Minnesota Capitol, Monday, April 24.
  • Film: First Daughter and the Black Snake, the story of Winona LaDuke’s efforts to stop the Enbridge oil pipeline expansion in northern Minnesota, Saturday, April 22 and Thursday, April 27.
  • Book Launch: White Birch, Red Hawthorne, the memoir of a fifth-generation Irish Minnesotan about the cost of immigration and indigenous genocide, Thursday, April 20.

Details follow. Continue reading

DAPL Update: News on Ongoing Divestment and Minnesota’s Native-Owned Bank

A collection of major pension funds, a labor union, and many religious organizations are putting financial pressure on banks supporting  the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They are asking the banks  to address or support the Standing Rock Nation’s request to reroute the pipeline. They have some financial muscle, collectively holding $653 billion in investments.

In other news,

  • Norway’s largest private investor just pulled its investments out of all companies involved with DAPL.
  • This month in history, the largest inland oil pipeline spill happened in Minnesota, near Grand Rapids.
  • And did you know that there are 18 banks owned by Native American people in this country? One of those banks is in Hinkley.

Keep reading.

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FBI Investigates DAPL Protestors as Terrorists, Sen. Franken Asks Why; and More Updates

Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken is asking the FBI to explain why its terrorism unit is investigating Dakota Access Pipeline protestors.

Honor the Earth is asking state residents to join efforts to stop the expansion of Enbridge’s tar sands pipelines through northern Minnesota.

The Apache Nation in Arizona is trying to come to terms with the federal government’s use of toxic chemicals on tribal lands decades ago.

These stories are nothing new. Indian nations have suffered broken treaties and environmental damage to lands in and around their reservations.

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