– People get fed up, and I don’t blame them.
Leaders of the Red Lake Nation are formally calling for the removal of oil pipelines from their reservation in northern Minnesota.
The tribal council in January pulled out of a deal with Canadian energy firm Enbridge that would have allowed the pipelines to stay in place. Leaders now want the infrastructure removed altogether.
“We just want them to move their lines and clean up the pollution and the damages they’ve done the past 70 years,” Chairman told The Bemidji Pioneer after the council voted unanimously on Tuesday to remove the pipelines.
– Enbridge spent more than $5 million lobbying Minnesota state officials, last year.
– A result in a closely watched “necessity defense” protest case:
Tuesday’s sentencing hearing tested a Montana court’s willingness to apply the severe penalties already available for use against pipeline protesters. For halting the flow of oil through Enbridge’s Express pipeline for several hours, Leonard Higgins, a 66-year-old retired information technology manager for the state of Oregon, faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for charges of misdemeanor trespass and felony criminal mischief. Higgins was sentenced to three years’ probation and $3,755 in restitution to the pipeline company…
Although the sentence is lenient in light of the possible penalties Higgins faced, it does not represent a full win for the activists. Higgins’s legal team had hoped Judge Daniel Boucher would allow them to argue that, given the severity of the climate threat, he had no choice but to act — a strategy known as a necessity defense. But Boucher said that since Higgins appeared to fear harm to his children and grandchildren, rather than an imminent threat to his own life, the defense could not apply. In his denial, Boucher wrote, “The energy policy of the United States is not on trial, nor will this court allow Higgins to attempt to put it on trial.”
The Minnesota legislature passed bills yesterday to extend unemployment benefits for Iron Range miners, and cut unemployment insurance premiums for many businesses. House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) came clean.
But Daudt criticized Senate Democrats for refusing to include a statement of support for the mining industry, which was included in the earlier House version of the legislation.
“That was what was holding this whole thing up,” he said. “Folks on the Iron Range ought to pay attention to the fact that that was the hang up here.”
(Senate Majority Leader Tom) Bakk (DFL-Cook) said there hasn’t been a clear explanation of what ramifications the mining statement would have and whether it would expose the state to legal risk if new mining ventures aren’t approved by regulators.
Pro-mining forces, in and out of political office, have been trying to use crude, petty strong-arm tactics for quite some time. They won’t stop, especially with Governor Mark Dayton having voiced opposition to the proposed Twin Metals project.
This one is less mitigated good news.
In a defeat for pipeline builder Enbridge Energy, Minnesota utility regulators on Thursday declined to speed up the procedure for reviewing two proposed crude oil pipelines across the state.
Enbridge, the Calgary-based company proposing to build the two lines, had complained that the state’s process would unreasonably delay the projects, which would carry oil from North Dakota and Canadian oil fields.
“This is not a minor event in Minnesota. This is significant,” said Minnesota Public Utilities Commissioner John Tuma, who opposed changing the timetable. “We are going to be moving a lot of oil through the state — very dangerous. We want to get it right.”
North Dakota oil production continues to decline. Canada is pumping more, for bad reasons.
Actually, two added purposes, both laudable. One is Native Americans’ efforts to assert their treaty rights, and another is to block land use for inappropriate, to say the least, endeavors like tar sands oil pipelines.
When Ojibwe tribal members (last Thursday) harvest rice outside reservation boundaries without a required permit, it will mark the latest chapter in Minnesota’s long history of treaty conflicts.
This time, however, the fight may go far beyond fish and wild rice.
Tribes believe the 1855 treaty they plan to put to the test today gives them the right to hunt, fish and gather in a large area of northern Minnesota. They argue those rights should also give them a say in any land use decisions that might affect natural resources — on or off reservation land.
That would include decisions about proposed oil pipelines in northern Minnesota, which they’re trying to stop.
On Thursday, rice gatherers were handed, pretty much at the last minute, a DNR permit that they didn’t want and don’t believe that they need. On Friday, they pushed it a little harder, and there were reports that could lead to citations.
Tar sands production is currently under a lot of downward pressure. Which is good, but there’s no reason to believe that Enbridge will halt its plans. Accomplishing that will take more.
There’s a lot of steel pipe laying around in northern Minnesota. It can sit there indefinitely, someday rusting away into hematite deposits, as far as I’m concerned.
The pipe field is not for a new Walmart. It’s a staging area for an Enbridge pipeline project. The Canadian company’s Sandpiper pipeline is designed to run 610 miles through Minnesota and North Dakota to transport oil.
Last month, long sections of pipe started rolling in by the semi load. The pipes look a bit like culverts, but longer and made of much thicker steel. For a while, semi trucks hauling three or four pipes were a common sight along highways 200 and 71.
The pipe is ready, but the project is not. Enbridge is still in the permitting process with the state and in September the project was delayed another year as regulators consider alternate routes for the new pipeline.
Righteous efforts are being made to deal with corporate vileness.
The Sierra Club, the White Earth Nation and several other groups filed a federal lawsuit (Nov. 6) against the U.S. State Department. The suit alleges that the department approved an Enbridge plan to construct and operate a crude oil pipeline that crosses the U.S.-Canada border without first reviewing the environmental impacts of the project as required by federal law.
Such a review would include an assessment of whether the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
The groups said the case shows President Obama’s administration is contradicting itself on policies involving Alberta’s oil sands crude, which critics say produces more emissions than conventional crude. While the president has said his administration won’t approve a permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline if it increases emissions, the State Department already is allowing Calgary-based Enbridge to pump more oil into the country, the advocates said.