Today, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the new Line 3 pipeline, in Enbridge's preferred new route. They opened up a brand new energy corridor through the lakes, wild rice beds of the North, the heart of Ojibwe treaty territories, and the ancestral homelands of the Oceti Sakowin. “You have declared war on the Ojibwe people!",” said one Ogichidaakwe.
Yesterday, Friday, June 22, Enbridge submitted a document to the Line 3 docket outlining the 5 last-minute promises they’ve made recently, in desperate attempts to push the PUC to approve their proposed new corridor. In that document, they propose a “Landowner Choice Program” to determine where to remove the old Line 3 pipeline. Deep in the document, Enbridge says they plan to offer each landowner money to let them leave the corroded, leaky pipe in the ground.
This week, the MN Public Utilities Commission began its final meetings to decide the fate of Enbridge’s proposed new Line 3. On Monday, each intervening party gave 10 minutes of oral argument, and on Tuesday, the Commissioners asked questions of the parties and discussed details. Several different commissioners indicated that they had not yet made a decision on Line 3 and didn’t know what to do. Enbridge kicked things off with a last ditch effort to sweeten the deal by making 3 new promises. These desperate pleas follow two similar last-minute announcements made earlier this month.
Today, Honor the Earth is launching a “Welcome Water Protectors” campaign across Northern Minnesota. Two billboards have been unveiled along the proposed new Line 3 route, a new cultural camp is now open, and “water-protector-friendly” stickers are going up at local businesses. Water protectors and allies are arriving for the summer as all sides await the State of Minnesota's final permit decision on June 27th.
Honor the Earth has also produced these Water Protector stickers and is distributing them free of charge to area businesses who wish to welcome visitors and show support for those protecting Minnesota's waters.
This is the 60-second TV commercial airing tonight for the first time on Duluth KBJR at 6pm. Landowners along the proposed new Enbridge corridor are speaking out and saying NO to a new Line 3!
Last week, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco announced two major new commitments as part of their desperate, last-minute attempt to push the PUC to approve Line 3 . First, Enbridge is now offering to remove the old Line 3 pipeline after it builds a new one, wherever landowners want that Second, Enbridge will “encourage” the Line 3 contractors they hire to spend at least $100 million on American Indian subcontractors or employees. This is part of an aggressive media campaign in response to the recent Judge’s report concluding that the state should deny the proposed new corridor. Meanwhile, opposition to the project continues to grow and escalate.
More than 500 spiritual leaders of different faith traditions in Minnesota have signed a letter to the Public Utilities Commission asking them to reject the permits for a Line 3 pipeline “because of the harm it would do to the Anishinaabe people.” On June 4, more than a hundred people gathered at the Capitol in St. Paul and marched to deliver the letter to the PUC and Governor Mark Dayton.
During Minnesota’s legislative session this spring, the GOP-controlled legislature passed a law giving Enbridge the green light to build the new Line 3 pipeline. This “fast-track” bill would have ignored and bypassed 5 years of regulatory process that is scheduled to finish in just a few weeks. But Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill, along with many others, including two bills specifically designed to suppress dissent and attack grassroots social movements.
On May 15, a Minnesota Tax Court judge finally ruled on Enbridge’s lawsuit against the State of Minnesota, agreeing with the company that the state has been grossly overvaluing the Enbridge oil pipeline system - in some years, by billions of dollars. Enbridge claims that the MN Department of Revenue’s property tax assessments of Enbridge’s Mainline system have been too high for the past 6 years. They say the State owes them about $55 million in refunds. In his ruling, the judge did not determine exact amounts, but largely agreed with Enbridge.
The 1855 Treaty Authority has authorized a one day FISH OFF Reservation at Lake Bemidji, the day before Minnesota State fishing opener. The 1855 Treaty Authority opened a similar season the day before Minnesota State fishing opener in 2010. The FISH OFF 2018 Reunion treaty rights rally is in Bemidji because of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline abandonment plans and new route project through new wild rice lakes, rivers and aquifers mostly in the 1855 territory. “Leaders like Flat Mouth understood we too would do our best to protect our rights and resources for the next generations,” said Frank Bibeau, Executive Director for the 1855 Treaty Authority. The one day season is open from 10AM to 2PM, tribal members ID cards are the permit and you may use any method to take fish including fishing pole, net and spear.
On April 23, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for Minnesota’s review of the proposed Line 3 replacement pipeline, Ann O’Reilley, issued her final report. In 400+ pages and 2500+ footnotes, the report summarizes almost 5 years of regulatory process and several mountains of evidence, with legal conclusions on how the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) should interpret the relevant laws to make a permit decision. And what a conclusion it is! ALJ O’Reilley says the PUC should APPROVE a new pipeline but DENY Enbridge’s proposed new route, and instead require them to remove existing line 3 and replace it “in-trench.” So what does this mean, and what happens next? After a couple of weeks of letting the dust settle, we now offer our thoughts: In short, this is both an enormous victory and a huge loss at the same time…and it creates a total mess.
On Thursday, March 15, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) met to decide if the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Line 3 was adequate or not, after being revised this winter. The commissioners all agreed that the EIS gives them all the information they need to make their decisions. The report and recommendation from the Administrative Law Judge is expected on April 23, and a final PUC permit decision is expected this summer.