Last week, Honor the Earth filed its Memorandum of Law in Support of its motion to dismiss the application by Enbridge for the Sandpiper route permit. Honor the Earth is using Chippewa treaty-reserved jurisdiction over usufructuary property rights of the Chippewa, which includes a blanket, conservation right-of-way to protect to the same environment for maintaining a viable ecosystem in perpetuity.
Honor the Earth argued in its brief that because these usufructuary property rights are federal, along with the unique relationship between the Chippewa and the United States, that the state of Minnesota, by itself, lacks the complete right to unilaterally give full consent without the Chippewa through a process that respects federal rights. (MN PUC e-Docket 13-474) Enbridge and Minnesota agencies will have until April 22 to file their responsive briefs with regard to jurisdiction. Following that, Honor the Earth will have until April 29 to file a reply brief with oral arguments are presently scheduled for May 7 in St. Paul.
At this time the PUC has not made a ruling on Honor the Earth’s motions for extension of time to propose alternative routes and/or hold additional information meetings so that all the public of northern Minnesota may attend in new and more convenient locations. On April 17, Hamline University hosts Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth, and her team of legal allies to educate Minnesota environmental law students on the Hamline University campus from 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m., and will make available statewide via webcast. The four law schools in the Twin Cities — the University of Minnesota, William Mitchell, Hamline and St. Thomas — have environmental law student groups who will be receiving real-time strategies in the PUC administrative case.
Frank Bibeau, attorney for Honor the Earth who will also be presenting the new legal strategies said, “This is an excellent opportunity for law students and the public to learn why and how treaty rights protect all the People’s environment and ecosystem." Honor the Earth is working with a variety of citizen groups who have come to understand their property rights are vulnerable to big oil and state law and that Chippewa Treaty rights may be the one protection for our environment, for all Minnesotans today and tomorrow. For updates and information on treaty rights and Sandpiper, visit www.honorearth.org