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
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
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
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.
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.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is sending a delegation to Standing Rock to learn more about what is happening on the ground, according to a story in BuzzFeed Friday. The commission is “an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency,” with a mission “to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.”
Commission chair Martin Castro will be one of those traveling to Standing Rock. He told BuzzFeed:
“This is to me the closest thing to what we’ve done since the time that we would go down in the 1960s to the Jim Crow South,” …
“Ideally we’d want to observe and meet with all parties involved, from the Army Corps of engineers to the protestor who just got hit with the water cannon,” Castro said.
“Hopefully we will not only write a report about what we’ve seen, but also co-ordinate with players involved to see how matters may be improved.”
Click on the link above for the full article.
For more weekend reading, consider these two pieces, one on Native rights and the other on environmental implications of the pipeline: Continue reading
The Indigenous Environmental Network has posted a video with hopeful news about efforts to delay — and eventually stop — the Dakota Access Pipeline. Meanwhile, the Water Protectors are facing rubber bullets, mace and concussion grenades. And Winona LaDuke sends an Open Letter to members of North Dakota’s law enforcement and National Guard appealing to their conscience. Continue reading
On Monday, October 10, St. Paul Public Schools is hosting an inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day Parade. In 2015, the City of Saint Paul declared Oct 10th, formerly recognized as Columbus Day, as Indigenous People’s Day. Parade organizers say this is the first year they had enough planning time to coordinate a public celebration.
The Parade will start at 11 a.m. at the American Indian Magnet School, 1075 East 3rd Street, St. Paul. It will end at Indian Mounds Park. In addition to the parade, there will be food, speakers and demonstrations. This year’s theme is “Water is Life.” Here is a link to the saint-paul-indigenous-peoples-day-parade-flyer.
The Minnesota History Center also is hosting an Indigenous Peoples Day event, 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 10, with precolonial foods prepared by the Sioux Chef. Speakers include State Representative Peggy Flanagan and Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano. (There is a $25 admission fee.)
For more on climate change and efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, keep reading.
The Presiding Bishop for the United Methodist Church in Minnesota and the Dakotas has issued a moving statement in support of the protesters attempting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and the threat the pipeline poses to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation which spans the North Dakota/South Dakota border.
Support for the protest is growing. There are a number of ways that you can support the protest, too, both financially and by using your voice.
But before getting to the details of how to help, consider the power of a personal story exemplified by the moving statement by Bishop Bruce R. Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church. His statement is titled: “Mni Wiconi (Lakota for ‘Water is Life’)” He writes:
This is a very difficult and complex issue for our country, and for me personally. I grew up in the oil fields of northwest North Dakota. My father earned his living and supported our family working for an oil exploration company. My grandparents homesteaded on land less than 20 miles west of Watford City, the epicenter of the Bakken oil fields. I have farmed and cared for that land and its precious water resources. I attended a Bureau of Indian Affairs school during my junior high years. After college, I spent two years living and working on the Standing Rock Reservation. I was living there during the American Indian Movement’s protest at Wounded Knee. I grew to love the Lakota and Dakota people, their spirituality, and their deep respect for God’s creation and creatures. I have a unique history and perspective on the current conflict. …
He ends his statement with the following: Continue reading
Native American and environmental activists appear to have scored a major victory in blocking Enbridge’s proposed Sandpiper pipeline that would have carried crude oil from the North Dakota fracking fields to Duluth/Superior.
Activists succeeded in raising concerns and delaying the project. The project’s financial backers now are seeking a different route. Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum are now investing in the Bakken Pipeline System that will route oil through North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa to get to Illinois.
As the people who would be most impacted by these projects, we are of course very happy to hear this news. For four years our community has said Gaawiin, NO – from the wild rice harvesters to the tribal governments. For four years we have had ceremonies to stop this pipeline. We’ve also fought in the courts, in regulatory hearings, in the media, in the streets, and on the land. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate this victory. When we stand up we are so powerful. But it is a bittersweet victory, for while we have won the battle, the war remains. The black snake is a hydra – cut off one head and 2 more will emerge.
That said, this is a complicated project, and environmental battles are not over.