Minnesota PUC Refuses to Adequately Consider Cultural Impacts of Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline


St. Paul, MN -- Today, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced that they have rejected a motion that would have allowed them to ensure that Tribal concerns were being adequately considered in their review of the controversial proposed Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

The PUC has ordered that the Traditional Cultural Properties Survey -- which would identify culturally significant locations like burial grounds or traditional sites along the proposed pipeline route -- be completed before construction starts on Enbridge’s Line 3, but has failed to require that it be completed and considered  before a decision on the final permits is made. The PUC rejected a motion today which would have adjusted their review process in order to take the Traditional Cultural Properties Survey into account as they make their decision, rather than leaving it as an afterthought once a decision has been made.

A crowd of concerned Minnesotans rallied outside the PUC building to call on the commission to respect Tribal rights and ensure that the cultural impacts of the pipeline are considered as they weigh Enbridge’s permits for the pipeline.

“It is very disappointing that the PUC refuses to respect Tribal rights by including the Traditional Cultural Properties Survey in their Line 3 review,” said Margaret Levin, State Director for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. “The PUC must make decisions based on the best interest of Minnesotans, not Enbridge, and that means ensuring that the public is given a full accounting of the risks of this dangerous and unnecessary project, including irreparable harm it could do to Tribal resources. Ignoring these impacts until a decision has already been made is deeply disrespectful to Tribal communities.”

“It is very important that the Public Utilities Commission takes the tribal-led cultural survey into full consideration, being that this pipeline will be affecting Anishinaabe land and their treaty territories,” said Youth Climate Intervenor Rose Whipple, age 16, member of the Isanti Dakota and Ho-Chunk Nations. “When building projects through indigenous land, rarely ever are the tribes being affected taken into consideration, leaving the fate of their communities and cultural sites uncertain. The Anishinaabe people deserve to have the impacts that this pipeline will have on their cultural sites taken into thought when deciding the fate of this pipeline. This land is more than just soil to the Anishinaabe, it is sacred and deserves to be preserved for the next seven generations.”

Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth, said, “The state of Minnesota should respect the original people of this land and nurture relations, not burn bridges. We will be here long after Enbridge.”

SOURCE > About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

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