Currently we have intervened in the PUC process for Sandpiper Certificate of Need and Route Permit edockets 13-474 and 13-473. Prior to the first pre hearing scheduling hearing Honor the Earth filed a Notice of Lis Pendens and Motion to Dismiss the matter for lack of jurisdiction.
As part of those filings, a letter from Winona went to the EPA Administrator and was also copied to all 6 Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Reservation Business Committee Chairs and Red Lake Chair, as all of their rights are historically linked together. Click here to read the letter that Executive Director Winona LaDuke wrote to the EPA. Referenced exhibits available here: Exhibit 1 - EPA Perciasepe Memo RE Treaties 1-8-2013, EPA ltr Exhibit 2 - MCT Pres Deschampe Ltr RE wild rice - 2-7-14 to MPCA, EPA ltr Exhibit 3 - Mn DOC DER Resp to NDPC Req for Protective Order 3-14-14).
White Earth has also filed a Notice of Appearance for the PUC Sandpiper proceedings and has passed a resolution against the Sandpiper pipeline that you can view here. We believe the EPA and a federal process must happen for a new oil pipeline through virgin 1855 Mississippi headwaters.
Recent and Pending Public Utilities Commission Proceedings
Honor the Earth Filed a Motion to Extend the Time, a Motion for Alternative Route, and the Memorandum of Law in Support of Lack of Jurisdiction for Usufructuary Property Rights Protected by Federal Treaties.
For more detailed information on PUC proceedings and filings click here.
Honor the Earth is also taking action and working with Tribal Governments to:
- Demand that the EPA Uphold Tribal members’ Usufructuary Rights to Hunt and Fish –
The U.S. federal government has responsibilities in relationship to treaty rights to preserve “the wild rice upon the lands, the rivers and the lakes included in the territory ceded.” These rights are guaranteed to tribal members within the context of U.S. Federal law, as they are the Supreme Law of the Land. The Supreme Court has consistently upheld theses rights, most recently with the Minnesota vs. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa decision to “preserve the Chippewa’s hunting and fishing rights.
It is obvious the EPA understands the requirement of good faith, government-to-government relationships with Indian Tribes and the need to respect and protect as a matter of federal law; treaty reserved, usufructruary property rights to a safe and healthy ecosystem with clean water, from which to hunt, fish and gather and earn a modest living, in perpetuity.
Affirm that the EPA protect and restore treaty-covered resources within their program responsibilities as paralleled in a memorandum Rights by the Deputy Director of the EPA, Bob Perciasepe to the EPA which states “Treaties are law, equal in status to the federal laws under the U.S. Constitution, and that the United States has a responsibility to honor the rights and resources protected by treaties.” (Western Washington Tribal Treaty (EPA ltr Exhibit 1 - EPA Perciasepe Memo RE Treaties 1-8-2013)
Learn more about how the 1855 Ojibwe Treaties Are Our best defense to defeat the Sandpiper Pipeline.
2. Ensure that the EPA carries out a Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) on pipeline and mining activity –
Honor was among the “fifty-nine conservation, business, faith-based and Native American tribal groups in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan” who have united to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prepare a CEA of the negative effects of mining across the Lake Superior Basin “Citing Great Lakes Water Quality treaties with Canada, legal obligations to tribes on lands ceded to the United States, and a history of mercury contamination and other pollution, the groups have requested the first-ever comprehensive analysis of mining impacts on one of the most important fresh water resources on the face of the earth.” A Minnesota Public Radio article has more information about the request and a copy of the letter to the EPA at the bottom.
We must affirm the request for a Region-wide CEA and demand it be expanded to include past, present and proposed pipeline activity in northern Minnesota.
A. Move the responsibility of the Environmental Review Process back to the Environmental Quality Board with cooperation from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural resources, the Pollution Control Agency, and with assistance from the Department of Commerce to require.
B. Require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Sandpiper Line because of the
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), under U.S. environmental law, requires an Environmental Impact Statement for development that “significantly affect[s] the quality of the human environment.” Due to the relatively untouched nature of the wilderness area that the Sandpiper Line would potentially run through, the state of Minnesota must require an EIS for this new line to ensure that the depth of review for decision making is complete, fully outlining the need, alternatives, and extensive impacts.