Manoomin (wild rice) now has legal rights. Both the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority have passed laws recognizing the “Rights of Manoomin” and establishing the authority to enforce those rights. The resolutions state that “it has become necessary to provide a legal basis to protect wild rice and fresh water resources as part of our primary treaty foods for future generations.”
The State of Minnesota is suing itself over its approval of a new Line 3 pipeline corridor. On Friday, December 21, the Department of Commerce of outgoing Governor Mark Dayton’s administration joined tribal governments and environmental groups in filing lawsuits with the MN Court of Appeals, asking them to overturn the Certificate of Need for the project. This brings the total number of active Line 3 lawsuits against the State of Minnesota to 7, with more likely on the way.
Enbridge now has both of the major Minnesota permits it needs for a new Line 3. A public input process for the US Army Corps permits is expected soon, along with a number of other minor permits from MN state agencies. Once those are issued, unless one of the pending or forthcoming lawsuits wins an injunction to halt construction, digging and clearcutting can begin.
Even though no permits have yet been issued for Line 3, law enforcement agencies in Minnesota have already been tracking water protectors’ activities, sharing information, and making preparations to respond to heightened Line 3 resistance for a long time now. Enbridge has agreed to pay for any costs they incur responding to social unrest during construction.
Today, tribes and environmental groups filed 3 separate lawsuits against the MN Public Utilities Commission (PUC), challenging the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the proposed new Line 3 pipeline. All three lawsuits ask the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn the PUC’s May 2018 decision that found the EIS “adequate.” A reversal of that decision would undermine the PUC's approval of the project in late June, which the EIS was used to inform.
On Thursday, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa announced it is “willing to consider an agreement with Enbridge” that would allow construction of the new Line 3 on its reservation. The next day, the Band said their position is being misunderstood. Minnesota’s approval of the project has put the Band in an impossible situation, giving it 60 days to decide the exact route of the pipeline through its 1854 ceded territory. It now faces a choice between one pipeline corridor or two - between expanding one of the 6 lines they already have, or clear-cutting a new corridor where no line has ever been before.
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.
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.
The tribal liaison for the environmental review of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline has resigned to protest of the state of Minnesota’s “failure to engage in meaningful and transparent tribal consultation” with impacted communities of the 1855 treaty territory.
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce shocked us all with its formal testimony in opposition to Line 3. As the DOC is the direct arm of the Governor’s office (part of the Executive Branch), we all hope that their testimony marks a long-awaited political shift by the Dayton administration. After taking some time to review the 338-page DOC testimony, we now offer our analysis.
Join us to celebrate the Paddle to Protect youth as they conclude their 250 mile canoe voyage through the Mississippi headwaters honoring the territories and communities threatened by the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.
After riding the existing pipeline route in Wisconsin in mid-July, we will start again and ride against the proposed Line 3 route in Minnesota. Our ride to #StopLine3 will open in East Lake on July 23rd and conclude in Bemidji on August 10th.
On Wednesday, July 12, the last of the 5 directly impacted Ojibwe tribes was given full status as an intervening party in the State of Minnesota’s contested case permit process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 oil pipeline. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe now joins the White Earth, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe as intervening parties in the case, along with a long list of environmental groups and Enbridge partners, two farmers who live along the route, and a group of 13 young people known as the “Youth Climate Intervenors.”
Photo by Joe Brusky
The Minnesota Department of Commerce received approximately 3000 public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Line 3, including from landowners, tribal members, organizations, businesses, City Councils, tribal governments, state agencies, federal agencies, and elected officials. A group of 36 Minnesota legislators submitted extensive comments together, and expressed concerns about inadequacies in the DEIS sections on spill modeling, pipeline abandonment, climate change, disproportionate impacts on tribal people, treaty rights, and the No Build Alternative.
Minnesota Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein speaks after a "Dance for the Water" event in St. Paul, just before the DEIS public meeting on June 13, 2017. Photo: Jaida Grey Eagle.
This summer we are riding our horses against the current of the oil on the 5th Annual Love Water Not Oil tour. This time around, we are starting in Wisconsin, and riding up Enbridge's Line 67 which would receive the oil proposed to flow through Enbridge's new Line 3. We are fighting this every step of the way, and this month, we fight with our horses and our prayers.
On July 5, 2017, a group of 12 fearless young people known as the “Youth Climate Intervenors” were granted full status as a formal intervening party in Minnesota's “contested case” permit process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline! What does that mean? Let us explain.
This August, a group of Indigenous youth fighting the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline will undertake a 250-mile canoe journey across northern Minnesota to stand for the water. We will start where the new Line 3 would cross the headwaters of the great Mississippi River, and travel a traditional canoe route to Big Sandy Lake, where hundreds of Ojibwe were killed by the US government in 1850, and where Line 3 is proposed to cross the Mississippi again.
In a groundbreaking move, the city of Grand Rapids, Minnesota is the first to ask the state of Minnesota to require Enbridge to remove its existing Line 3 pipeline.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Line 3 pipeline attempts to justify why the oil industry’s need to profit is greater than the need of the Anishinaabeg people to survive. These are the 10 ways the Line 3 DEIS has failed to serve tribal communities of Minnesota.
Frustrated by 4 years of bold, Indigenous-led resistance to their proposed pipelines in Minnesota, Enbridge’s most recent strategy was to try to fast-track their Line 3 project by passing laws at the state level to bypass the regulatory process. But we stopped them once again. The campaign to stop Line 3 grows stronger by the day.
On Monday, May 15, 2017, the State of Minnesota released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Enbridge's proposed new Line 3 pipeline. You can view or download the entire DEIS here. The State will hold 22 public meetings in June 2017, all over Minnesota, to gather public comment on the DEIS. Click here for the detailed schedule and read more for details.
Community members, First Nations and US Tribal members rallied together at the annual general meeting (AGM) of Enbridge Inc to demand respect of Indigenous rights, protection of water, and life. The Indigenous groups and individuals present represent a newly forming cross-border alliance to stop Enbridge's proposed Line 3 pipeline expansion project.
Most Minnesotans don’t realize that we boast the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.On this day, March 3, in 1991, the Line 3 pipeline ruptured near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, spilling over 1.7 million gallons of oil, much of which flowed into the Prairie River, after a negligently delayed response by the company.