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.
This week, all of the intervening parties in the State of MN’s review process for Line 3 filed their legal briefs, altogether totalling over 1000 pages of formal “legalese” with thousands of citations to other documents. The parties include 5 Ojibwe tribal governments, several environmental non-profits, the Youth Climate Intervenors, landowners and lake associations along the route, Governor Dayton’s Department of Commerce (DOC), and of course, Enbridge and their various Industry and Labor allies. In the briefs, the parties make legal arguments about why the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) should approve or deny the permits for the project.
On Tuesday, the 5 Ojibwe bands intervening in Minnesota’s Line 3 case joined forces on an assertive legal action for the first time in this 4+ year battle. Their legal brief meticulously documents the State’s consistent disregard for tribal rights and tribal concerns throughout this process, and profound failure to assess impacts to historic and cultural properties and treaty-protected resources. It asks the PUC to halt the entire process until a full survey of cultural resources is completed for the entire corridor and all alternative routes, with that data included in the EIS so that it can inform the PUC’s permit decisions.
Enbridge has stated and testified repeatedly that Line 3 is the only pipeline they currently plan to build in Minnesota. But during the 12-day evidentiary hearing for the State of Minnesota’s review process for Line 3, interesting new information came to light suggesting that Enbridge may be withholding other plans for their proposed new Line 3 corridor.
In 2014 and 2015, Enbridge applied for and received 12 Construction Stormwater Permits (CSW) from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), for storage yards across Northern Minnesota used to stockpile pipe for the proposed Sandpiper and Line 3 pipeline projects. Eleven of the 12 permits are still active today. All were issued illegally.
The nine public hearings on the “Certificate Of Need” and “Route Permit” for Line 3 ended today. They are overseen by an administrative law judge and are also attended by witnesses provided by Enbridge that proposed the route for the pipeline. The public hearings are an opportunity for the public to speak against or for the project and its proposed route. The Public Utilities Commission is supposed to take all of the comments and testimony into account before issuing their final decision in the spring of 2018.
Largely in response to the profound shortcomings in the State of Minnesota’s environmental review process for the proposed new Line 3 oil pipeline, six Ojibwe bands in Minnesota have announced their own review process for Line 3. Tribal governments are standing up to assert their rights of self-determination and to protect the lands, waters, and resources critical to the survival of the Anishinaabeg.
TransCanada has cancelled its proposed Energy East pipeline after years of intense opposition from Indigenous communities, local and provincial governments, and environmental groups.
The public battle within the permit process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline is heating up this fall. Learn how you can get involved!
Today, a coalition of Indigenous, national and international groups join a growing movement placing pressure on financial institutions to drop financially and socially risky projects, delivering a group letter to the 36 banks providing corporate finance to fossil fuel infrastructure giant Enbridge.