The Honor the Earth group filed a motion April 3 with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for extensions of deadlines and for additional public hearings about the preferred Sandpiper route for another Enbridge Pipeline.
The motion (See PUC eDocket 13-474). requested an extension of all deadlines until after Labor Day 2014.
In a March 31 letter to Gov. Mark Dayton, Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth, said, “Northern Minnesotans are very concerned about the lack of involvement by various state agencies to ensure there is a complete public due process, with all stakeholders notified in advance and involved in the consideration. Right now the process appears to be an Enbridge sham.”
LaDuke, a long-time environmental activist and former Green Party vice-presidential candidate, pointed out to the Governor that “Crude oil is not even a PUC-regulated commodity, and crude oil pipelines are certainly not a public utility, but rather a private commodity conveyance system that has wrongfully been afforded the power of eminent domain.”
The PUC previously jad set April 4 for the deadline for submissions of alternative routes for the Sandpiper, following a flash series of public information meetings held in March during midweek and often mid-day.
Honor the Earth filed a motion for an Alternative Sandpiper Route. The “I-29 and I-94 Alternative Sandpiper Route” mostly skirts the western and southern Chippewa-ceded territories in Minnesota and keeps potential oil spills away from 1.) the Red River to Hudson Bay waterway, 2.) the Headwaters of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and 3.) the St Louis River and other tributaries to Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean.
Honor the Earth included an 1858 Statehood map of Minnesota to show the ceded Chippewa territories for the I-29/94 Alternative Route in the PUC filing, using the existing south side (of eastbound) right-of-way corridor of Interstate 94 from Fargo to St. Paul.
Frank Bibeau, attorney for Honor the Earth, argued that, “By using the Interstate right-of-way corridor, many multiple uses and costs can be saved/shared as a symbiotic project in the existing or increased width of corridor, planned future uses like pipeline emergency response centers and management plans with regard to protecting the environment and accessibility of public safety equipment and personnel in the event of an oil spill or other related disasters.”
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 the environment for all Minnesotans, both today and tomorrow.
For updates and information on treaty rights and Sandpiper, visit www.honorearth.org
Frank Bibeau is the owner of Action Title, Inc. in Walker and is the contributor of this update. For questions or more information, contact him at (218) 547-2970.