On Monday, September 14, the Minnesota Court of Appeals unanimously revoked the Certificate of Need for the Sandpiper pipeline and required a full Environmental Impact Statement to be conducted. The appeal was filed by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy on behalf of Friends of the Headwaters. The Court ruled that the MPUC (Minnesota Public Utilities Commission) had violated state law by granting Enbridge a Certificate of Need for the pipeline without conducting a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as required by the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act. The Court sent the case back to the PUC, a huge victory for citizen and environmental groups.
The decision postpones indefinitely the permit proceedings for both the Sandpiper and Line 3 pipelines, because they are proposed for the same new corridor. Line 3 is an existing tar sands pipeline from Alberta that Enbridge has proposed to abandon and replace with a new line.
September 10th — Judge Michael Davis heard oral arguments Thursday in Minneapolis Federal court over the illegal backroom deal conducted between the U.S. State Department and Canadian pipeline company, Enbridge, to nearly double the capacity of its Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline without completing the environmental review required by law. The plaintiffs are White Earth Nation and a coalition of environmental groups including Honor the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Minnesota Conservation Foundation, MN350, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and National Wildlife Federation. The lawsuit charges the US State Department with bypassing environmental review and allowing Enbridge to use a blatantly illegal "switcheroo" scheme to skirt around the limitations of their cross-border Presidential Permit that allows them to bring oil from Alberta into the US via the Alberta Clipper pipeline.
Summarizing the case, Ken Rumelt, Attorney for Plaintiffs stated, "The state department has approved two projects that collectively surpass Keystone XL pipeline’s ability to import oil into the United States. And it has done that without any kind of compliance with the mandatory national procedures-National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation. We firmly believe that the State Department has violated those federal statutes."
This Thursday, September l0 at 9:00 am, Federal Judge Michael Davis will hear White Earth Nation v. Kerry. Plaintiffs, including the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Honor the Earth and the Sierra Club, charge that the US State Department secretly approved Alberta Clipper aka the “switcheroo project,” skirting the environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). The State Department’s action has allowed Enbridge to switch lines at the border from the Alberta Clipper Line to an expanded and improved, (but aging) Line 3. The l6 mile border segment moves oil between the Clipper line and the Line 3 segment to, ostensibly, according to plaintiffs, avoid federal law. Read moreRead more
"Right to Rice" 1835, 1855, 1867 and more Treaties is a right, trust, obligation and agreement which includes the right to hunt, fish, harvest and gather within the treaty territory not just on the reservation.
Things are not as they should be in the North. This last week, your Department of Natural Resources decided to issue some citations to Ojibwe people for ricing on Hole in the Day Lake. That is, after the cameras were gone. The officers went out to track down Morningstar and Harvey Goodsky citing them for harvesting wild rice off the reservation, without your permission. Sort of like “poaching wild rice.” You are out of line, need to do some accounting to us all. Let me do my best to explain why.Read more
Two charges of wild ricing and illegal fish netting were brought against Natives challenging the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These are uncharted waters because it is a treaty rights dispute that has not been heard in any level of the judicial system so far.
Some Northlanders are among a group of Ojibwe tribal members pushing the envelope to bring attention to what they say are their treaty rights from the 1855 pact with the United States. The DNR interprets the treaty differently. The DNR says hunting and gathering rights for tribal members, off the reservation, are not provided by the treaty.
The Love Water Not Oil tour is in full swing! We had a great showing at the McGregor PUC hearings on Tuesday (August 26th) with so many people wanting to voice their concerns about the pipeline, that both meetings ran over time by hours. Our horse riders are covering ground everyday and enjoying the lush forested country, while our canoe flotilla has already harvested and processed manoomin (wild rice).Read more
PRESS RELEASE: MN PUC grants Eminent Domain for Sandpiper, calls for Environmental Review and Cooperation with Tribes, Federal Agencies
On Monday, August 3, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued two orders for Enbridge’s Sandpiper pipeline application – granting the Certificate of Need, which conveys to Enbridge the powers of eminent domain, and commencing the routing permit review process. However, there were conditions. First, the PUC order requires a thorough Comparative Environmental Analysis (CEA), which “shall also include a qualitative as well as quantitative analysis of the environmental impacts of the various route alternatives; and consider the environmental impact of the Sandpiper facility alone and the cumulative impact of both the Sandpiper facility in the Line 3 replacement project.” This is an important shift in regulatory process, as the PUC previously denied the motion by Honor the Earth to combine environmental analysis for Line 3 and Sandpiper.
At a marathon hearing that began on July 29 in Pierre, South Dakota, the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) was tasked to decide if it should recertify the company’s permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. However, TransCanada faced strong opposition to their Keystone XL plans. Members of the grassroots group Dakota Rural Action, Native American tribes, and individual landowners made their case that TransCanada is not qualified for the job.Read more
PUC grants Eminent Domain for Sandpiper, calls for Environmental Review and Cooperation with Tribes, Federal Agencies
On Monday, August 3, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued two orders for Enbridge’s Sandpiper pipeline application – granting the Certificate of Need, which conveys to Enbridge the powers of eminent domain, and commencing the routing permit review process. However, there were conditions...
The Canadian Supreme court recently made one of the “most important Supreme Court ruling on aboriginal rights in Canadian history.” This June 2015 ruling recognized that tribes had title to lands that they had not ceded through treaties. Particularly, the ruling granted the Tsilqhot’in Nation (pronounced Sil-KO-tin) aboriginal title to a vast piece of land in the interior of British Columbia.