Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
In a new battlefront over energy policy, American Indian rights attorneys argued Wednesday before a Minnesota judge that historic treaties give tribes a say in where to build crude oil pipelines across land ceded by the Chippewa in the 19th century.
“Everybody has kind of forgotten what our rights are, and that is why we are here,” Frank Bibeau, an attorney for the Indian nonprofit group Honor the Earth, told an administrative law judge at a hearing in St. Paul.Read more
There’s a common answer that Mona Dohman, Minnesota’s public safety commissioner, gets when she asks local law enforcement officers and firefighters what public threat intrudes on their thoughts late at night and leaves them tossing and turning with worry.
After an ominous fireball bloomed in the winter skies near Casselton, N.D., in late 2013, it should come as no surprise that oil transport accidents have public safety officials on edge in a state that is not only crisscrossed by oil pipelines but that has become a virtual freeway system for crude carried by rail out of western North Dakota’s Bakken formation.Read more
On this week's Honor the Earth Environmental Feature, we look again at the Sandpiper proposed pipeline and the multiple forms of powerful opposition taking place, including Honor the Earth's multi-pronged approach to organizing.Read more
ENBRIDGE IS CURRENTLY TRYING TO BLOCK THE EXTENSION OF THE COMMENT PERIOD THAT HAS BEEN GRANTED. YOU CAN WATCH A NEWS SEGMENT ON THIS HERE:Read more
BY PAULA FISCHER
MN 350, the Sierra Club, Honor the Earth and others are fighting Enbridge Energy of Canada before the Public Utilities Commission on April 3. Enbridge seeks to increase its enormous oil transport system using its existing Alberta Clipper Pipeline through Minnesota, increasing the barrels per day of tar sands crude oil from 450,000 to 800,000 piped from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wis. Many Minnesotans do not even know that this pipeline exists. There are many serious issues here. Many believe that this oil does not benefit the U.S. and is largely intended for export. Climate scientists warn that full development of tar sands oil will be “game over” for the climate. Enbridge is the company responsible for the 2010 spill in Michigan that poured over a million gallons into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. This type of oil sinks and has to dredged, further destroying the aquatic ecosystem. The spill is yet to be cleaned up.A spill near Cohasset, Minn., in July 2002 resulted in long-term injuries to wetland vegetation and wildlife habitat according to the Natural Resources Trustees, Department of the Interior. Airbourne vapors of benzene and other carcinogens are released during these spills. Enbridge has a history of 804 oil and gas leaks over the last 10 years throughout its entire system.Read more
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.Read more