I’m not IN… for Walz’ MN

Tags

, , , , , , , ,


Where police surround buildings and fire “non-lethal” rounds at Minnesotans (sometimes taking out an eye, or inflicting other damage).

Amidst the week’s long trial of the cop that murdered George Floyd – and yes, I use the term murder because we all witnessed what he did… he murdered George, someone with whom he had bad history… [no wonder he didn’t testify, it would have made the premeditation obvious] – we have yet another black man murdered by a cop in Brooklyn Center.

This time, it’s a “mistake” in that the female officer Kim Potter pulled, not her taser – a device meant only to stun – but her service revolver, a device that fatally wounded a man “unintentionally”. Apparently, even though everyone can clearly see the BLACK GUN in the body cam footage, she was too flustered to realize she hadn’t drawn her brightly colored taser, but her pistol which would render a young father dead.

My question is this:

Why would we design a tool meant to only stun to be SO MUCH LIKE a tool meant to inflict potentially lethal damage?

With all the video games in the decades throughout my life, we’ve seen an amazing array of designs, not only for controllers but for new types of fitness gadgets from Wii Fit to Virtual Reality controllers.  My wondering as I contemplate the murder of Daunte Wright, is why they didn’t design tasers to be more like a light saber or Wii fit paddle or FUCKING ANYTHING… besides a lot like a God Damn GUN?

I’m not the only one with this idea…

Alpert said a major factor in why officers mistakenly draw their firearm is that stun guns typically look and feel like a firearm. St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter brought up the same point during a news conference Monday.

“Why do we even have Tasers that operate and function and feel and deploy exactly like a firearm?” Carter asked. “Why can’t we have Tasers that look and feel different? That you could never mistake for deploying a firearm so that we can ensure that mistake that has happened before can never happen again?”

EXPLAINER: How does an officer use a gun instead of a Taser? By SEAN MURPHY April 12, 2021 (my emphasis)

If there has been confusion – and there has been, as recalled in the above AP piece which mentions police fucking up like this in the past in Oakland, Tulsa, and St. Louis – then WTF are we not doing something about it? Is it because things are operating fine according to the managers? Or is it too much trouble to re-design & re-train?  I mean what’s a couple more dead black folks… to the system? Apparently no worry… as we watch settlements instead of solutions.

How many trials will the citizens of Minnesota pay for – and how many settlements to families wronged by police action will be paid – before we see real change?

It seems a simple solution is in order:

Design Tasers to look, feel, and deploy DIFFERENTLY than Guns.

Will we see solutions? Or just more cops acting like the real criminals are those protesting their unnecessary and avoidable murders? 

Perhaps our children can again light the way as adults seem to continue to fail…

While I was visiting my son in Colorado, we had a chance to experience Virtual Reality via a game called Beat Saber.  This game is kind of a Star Wars meets Guitar Hero.  The design has music playing with blocks associated to the beat which you slice through with light sabers (blue and red, so use the correct one for each block! And slice in the correct direction and a mid-point for best point totals…) to keep the music going. 

Watching Celia play was amazing like a swing dancer cutting those blocks with a flip of the wrist.  I too liked the swing of the patterns which guide you – yes, running the game without the slice indicators is FAR HARDER to manage as you must think to decide the best approach.  Tom, on the other hand is stiff and robotic aiming for max precision on his blows. We also played Skyrim which was fucking amazing to experience! Running down hills of snow and shooting arrows… too cool.

While we enjoyed our vacation and helping our kids get settled in a new home, it was bittersweet being away from home watching many horrors unfold, from the Chauvin trial to the new daily atrocities facing people of color in the Deep North.

If our children have access to tools that clearly differentiate between gaming systems, is it not reasonable to expect that our police officers can do the same for tasers and guns? Especially as it is literally a matter of life and death?


The Guardian… Remembering Daunte Wright – a loving father whose namesake must now grow up without him.

Journalists are taking a stand against the egregious behavior of Minnesota law enforcement, now ordered by Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright (no irony there?) to obey the law with a Temporary Restraining Order. (FFS – is that what is required for police to obey the fucking law???)

The examples within this document referenced below are a depiction of the unlawful ways Minnesota law enforcement is dealing with protest, including violating the freedom of the press… simply working to document and protect Minnesotans and tell the story for citizens who are not present.

While it is good to see the Minnesota Department of Safety and State Police ordered to obey the law regarding journalists, there is no mention of County or other local law enforcement being held to the requirements of this TRO.

…April 16, District Court Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining all “agents, servants, employees, and representatives” of the Minnesota Department of Safety and the Minnesota State Patrol from committing violent and threatening acts against journalists, including:
(1) “arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force—including through use of flash bang grenades, non-lethal projectile, riot batons, or any other means. . .
(2) Requiring Journalists to disperse, or arresting Journalists for not dispersing;
(3) “using chemical agents” including pepper spray and tear gas; and
(4) “Seizing any photographic equipment, audio- or videorecording equipment, or press passes.”
Yet as discussed on our call, reports from journalists on the ground indicate that over the last several days—and even last night after the TRO was in effect—law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread intimidation, violence, and other misconduct directed at journalists that have interfered with their ability to report on matters of intense public interest and concern. …

On today’s call, the question was posed whether this type of tension between law enforcement and the media is commonplace these days, or whether Minnesota is a unique example. Certainly, we live in politically and socially tense times and that is true across the country. But the abuses perpetrated by law enforcement officers in the Twin Cities over the past several nights—and going back to last summer—are alarming and, yes, threaten to set this State apart. They also are clear violations of the First Amendment, and for those officers subject to the TRO, they are in direct violation of the TRO.

30+ News organizations write to Governor Walz

And where is Walz? On FB, his update on this issue is… pretty quiet… except to blame Republicans… for his inability to manage the situation. And how about protecting the CITIZENS of Minnesota – you know, those people who elected you? Where we at with that, Timmy Four-Fingers? Silence.

A silent spring?

Tags

,


With all the Enbridge work in the wetlands behind our home, we’ve been concerned about how our many relatives have been affected.

We watched as the trees were clearcut with speed.

We witnessed the lumber matting thudding into place to create a road behind our home closer than the road in front of our home.

We watched as the dozers ran over the land cutting the scrub remaining from the slaughter and the grabbers snatched up the dead, piling them into giant brush piles to burn and pollute the air.

We listened to the fires crackling in the woods for hours, filling the Mississippi River Valley, and the scenic drive along County 2 from US Highway 2 to Itasca State Park, with smoke.

Now we wait. To hear the frogs return. To listen to the sandhills breeding in the water-rich land.


More than just the Enbridge destruction of recent weeks is affecting whether or not we’ll hear sandhills return to our swamp.

This time of year, the yard is typically full of water with our little man-made pondlet overflowing into the yard. The melting of winter usually disappears our little pond into a lakelet that has remained in recent years until May or June.

This year, the small plastic pond liner is the only thing holding any water. Looks like severe drought is in order as we watch ditches, usually flowing steady, trickle by along the county road out front… another product of the changing climate, in large part brought by the fossil fuel industry that Enbridge serves.

So quiet in the swamp.

We did hear a few sandhills flying over in the last week, but the throng we typically hear has not yet populated our backyard wetlands. We’ve heard nothing of the peepers. All I can think is that the dozers crushed them all in their hibernation.


Time will tell if we’ve gone too far to save ourselves.

Do we not realize… if the birds and insects disappear, eventually we will too?

How long can we keep up the charade of living as if reciprocity to the land is something with which we need not concern ourselves?

Have we actually bypassed all our opportunities to save the planet on which we reside… for our own long-term habitation?

What will the pandemic, and emerging drought, bring for the humans of the USA in 2021?

We watch as the rich gather up their stock market returns of 60-70%, remembering days when an 8% ROI was a good thing. We wonder how they can feel happy about money made in a system of so much corruption.

Meanwhile, homeless encampments – the only option for many who are now over year from their last paying job – are overrun with bulldozers as police remove the unwanted residents. Similar to how we eradicated the mosquitoes, mice, beaver, fox, wolf… who interfered with OUR management of the land?

How soon until that revolution I’ve been predicting for decades becomes a reality? How soon until so many feel they have no option but to process through their frustration and overwhelm with suicide? Or homicide?

As mass shootings continue… and people mindlessly travel without considering COVID risks… and many hope for the world to “go back to normal”, I believe we will never again go back to where we were before 2020.

And I wonder if we will continue to spiral down the drain to our own extinction… or if we will find many and myriad small communities gathering to help each other as we weather this largest storm we’ve ever seen coming at us.

I hope for love to win. For us to come together and feed, clothe, protect those not provided as much in our unequal system of sharing of the resources we have. For those who win most to realize this doesn’t bring happiness… when so many suffer for our winning. For all of us to find the goal of our common happiness and security as the most worthy of them all.

While it may be naive… I believe voting still matters. But the rest of this… let’s get going!

Courtesy not Confrontation in Clearwater County


The Clearwater County Sheriff does an exemplary job of traffic control and safety presence in multiple events along Becida Road (ClearWater County 40). He arrives at gatherings for ceremony and celebration at the Mississippi River Valley and engages with the public there in a friendly way. He shows up alone, in a simple Sheriff’s SUV, and quietly protects and serves watch over the event.

In comparison to confrontational actions we’ve seen in Aitkin County at the second Mississippi River crossing on the proposed Line 3 pipeline route, Sheriff Halverson provides a comforting law enforcement presence that assures people an ability to peacefully engage in their First Amendment rights. 

Intelligent policing involves a focus on de-escalation and equitable protections.  Sheriff Halverson provides a great example of good policing in maintaining a peaceful presence.  He does not escalate with an over-the-top police response for a simple traffic control situation on a not so busily travelled roadway in the quiet part of his county. 


Thank you, Sheriff Darin, for your kindly humane and intelligently implemented law enforcement techniques.  I look forward to you maintaining a peaceful presence at the little bridge over the Mississippi. 


Sheriff Darin Halverson on World Water Day with ogichidaa water protector. (Thanks, Jaci!)

If you want to give Darin a thank you for his effective law enforcement, perhaps we can encourage more to follow his lead.

You can reach Darin at 218.694.6226 or darin.halverson@co.clearwater.mn.us or

213 Main Ave. N. #102
Bagley , MN 56621

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Tags

, , , , , , ,


Well, I missed my regular Monday blog post day by a couple… as it’s been a whirlwind of a week! [This is only the second miss as I recall… the first was planned, for a Tommy visit, in the early days of blogging… and I want to keep it to a minimum, so I’m counting this as an approved Birthday Delay in posting!!]

So many blessings… and World Water Day coinciding with my birthday! Surprising Serendipity!!

  • Cards from many and over 100 FB wishes as I recall. {Big thanks for the money, Momma!}
  • Many donations to my Friends of the Headwaters fundraiser. In case you missed it… you can still donate here.
  • A beautiful soft shawl to add to my Melodee Collection! [I’m wearing it in the webinar photo below.]
  • Helpful neighbors and friends bring success in getting a mile+ of No Parking signs at the Mississippi River Valley removed so I can continue to pray at the River without feeling unsafe. And so tourists too can stop and take a photo with the Mighty Mississippi where she’s still narrow and quick! Hurry, before Enbridge rushes to drill under her… more on that at the end. 😉
  • A Gathering of Spirits, A Festival of Friends at the Mississippi River Valley a week before… [SO GOOD to see some LOVELY FRIENDS! ~35-50 folks showed up!]
  • Puppets!! Ma’iigan for Dawn… Mukwa and a Jingle Dress dancer too! What a fun blessing.
  • And… another gathering on my birthday as well! [EVEN MORE FRIENDS!! I’d guess ~200 – with about 75 remaining to sing me Happy Birthday!! WOW – what an overwhelming surprise… The love of this movement never ceases to amaze me.]
  • And… a Drum Song and Circle Dance for my birthday!!! {Oh, the love… and the lessons in humility. Big thanks to Angel Stevens for capturing the song for me!! :D}
  • An Honor Treaties Webinar with Dale Greene, Jr., Bob Shimek, and Martin Case speaking. A powerful learning, once again, this time on Kinship with the Land and Honoring Treaty Responsibilities.
  • A successful tamale casserole recipe made an easy dinner. [Basically, a can of meat (optional), can of pinto beans, can of diced tomatoes with chilis, then smooth cornbread mix (with an extra egg & can of cream corn added) over the top, bake, and enjoy!]

And the fun continues… so thrilled to get a fun shout out from Smart Mark Agee of The Evening Skews (with Trae Crowder). [Love those guys.]

And thrilled to hear what seems like some judges who had done their homework on the Line 3 Challenges in the MN Court of Appeals. [The key is reading the dissent from PUC Commissioner Matt Scheurger, as he laid it out pretty succinctly (Pages D1-11). Here’s a lovely video from seekjoy on the last big public hearing at the PUC… with love going to Commissioner Matt (2:20 of the 2-2:30 coverage marking his courage)] The submitted briefs appear to have been well read as good questions ensued indicating Enbridge had perhaps NOT provided a Demand forecast for their project (as required by law)… and instead gave only a fantasy SUPPLY forecast for the PUC to consider. Sure hoping we see a reversal of the PUC’s Line 3 Certificate of Need order – as it was given capriciously and without proper consideration of Minnesota law. (IMHO)

Hoping you all have a blessed year as well.

Chi-Miigwech Miinawaa, Indinawemaa Odinawemaaganan!
{I’m learning… and believe this translates to… Big Thanks, again, to All my Relatives!
Chi-Miigwech to Naabek who is teaching me.
You can join us… every Wednesday… That’s TONIGHT! 7PM Passcode: 054633
Bring your emikwaanensan! :D}

Enbridge’s Consent Decree Deception

Tags

, , , , , , ,


Scientists say that Tar Sands need to stay in the ground.

So how did Minnesota end up approving Enbridge to build a Tar Sands pipeline… as the oil industry is massively divesting from and abandoning Tar Sands assets? Science for the People issued a video giving us part of the story. In it, you can see the process and the deceptions that led to an illegal and erroneous approval of a tar sands pipeline through some of Minnesota’s best remaining waters.

Key to the Enbridge spin, though kept largely under wraps in their narrative until quite recently, is their deceptive misrepresentation of a 2017 Federal Consent Decree made between Enbridge and the US Government.

While Enbridge has purported that the Decree REQUIRED them to DECOMMISSION their current Line 3 and BUILD a New Line 3… it’s not quite that simple.

We ordered Enbridge to SEEK a replacement for Line 3, not that permits be given. State Agencies must still conduct all reviews and follow applicable regulations. We’ve implemented some restrictions to the current Line 3 and additional requirements should Enbridge fail to secure said permits.”

Federal Consent Decree explanation portion of Science for the People video plea to President Biden to pull the 404 permit for Line 3
(my emphasis)

This blog gives a bit more of a high level explanation on how things went wrong regarding understandings of the Consent Decree and also a deep dive into the Decree for those more curious to get into the weeds.

Here’s the basics if you want the cliff notes version:

  • The Consent Decree is an agreement crafted, over a half dozen years, by and between Enbridge and the U.S. Government (on behalf of the EPA and the Coast Guard who protect our environment and waters) to allow Enbridge’s continued operation of pipelines after a couple BIG, QUICK failures (6/25/10 near Marshall, Michigan and two months later, near Romeoville, Illinois).
  • The agreement literally says: “Enbridge shall replace… Line 3… provided that Enbridge receives all necessary approvals to do so.”  The problem? Enbridge convinced Minnesota officials and regulators, media and citizens, with a campaign that “Obama required Line 3 be replaced.” No matter what. Implying approvals were required. [Did no one find it ironic that a company whose pipelines were found to be inadequate would use THAT FAILURE as an excuse for another opportunity to… fail with a NEW pipeline?]
  • If the Courts rule the approvals were not legal, as challenged by many parties against multiple Minnesota Agencies and Commissions, all the current Line 3 construction would be illegal as well. The parties arguing against the project include the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which has alleged for years that there is no Need for the project. Cases begin arguments next week.
  • Bottom line: While the Decree required Enbridge to seek replacement Line 3, it added provisions should approval for replacement NOT HAPPEN, including increased inspections, maintenance, and training, along with other actions to prevent recurring failures of Enbridge’s “Lakehead System”. Enbridge seems anxious for those requirements to go away with a New Line 3... as they RUSH to build through Northern Minnesota before the courts can rule.

Now let’s deep dive…

[As some of the below is for thoroughness, if you seek specifics on the Line 3 replacement details, click here to skip ahead. For an even deeper dive, click here for a less abridged version of this blog post. For more on why the USACE should have DENIED the 404 permit, click here.]

You’ve seen it in comments on FB posts, heard it from the PUC as their justification for approving the project, and seen this idea in news reports… that the Federal Consent Decree “ordered” Enbridge to replace an “unsafe” Line 3.

Enbridge Energy said Biden’s decision on Keystone will have no impact on Line 3 or a similar Line 5 project in Michigan. Unlike the Keystone project, lines 3 and 5 are currently operating, the company said, and the Line 3 replacement was ordered by a consent decree during Obama’s administration.”

Buoyed by Keystone XL, pipeline opponents want Biden to act By AMY FORLITI January 31, 2021 (my highlight)

Kellner added that the project was ordered by consent decree during the Obama administration, and has passed every test during six years of regulatory and environmental reviews.”

As Biden cancels Keystone XL, what’s next for Line 3? by Jennifer Eisenbart  Jan 27, 2021 Aitkin Age (my highlight)

“We owe it to future generations, to the Indigenous communities we’ve signed treaties with, and to every living being on this planet to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure,” Omar tweeted during the day. …

Enbridge Energy spokeswoman Juli Kellner told the Pioneer on Sunday that the projects differ as, “unlike Keystone XL, Line 3 is a currently operating pipeline and its replacement was ordered by a federal consent decree during the Obama Administration.”

Indigenous voices express opposition to Line 3 during Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visit to Bemidji  Written By: Hannah Olson | Feb 1st 2021 (my highlight)

And now even U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly seems to be confused by it… mentioning it in her ruling for the Tribes request for a 404 Injunction on the Line 3 project:

Overall, the Court finds the balance of harms and public interest considerations to be a close call. Plaintiffs offer numerous examples of potential environmental harms stemming from the Project’s construction. But the Corps presents persuasive evidence that delaying construction—and in doing so, continuing to rely on Existing Line 3 which Enbridge is required to decommission pursuant to its Consent Decree—also causes ongoing environmental harm and safety risks. And, as noted above, the Court cannot ignore the potential financial losses and harmful economic effects on the local community if construction on the Project were to be delayed. Taking into account all these considerations, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have not definitely tipped the scale in their favor.”

Civil Action No. 20-3817 (CKK) Judge’s ruling seems to assume legality of the permit seeking process… erroneously. (my emphasis)

The Judge failed to grasp that the Consent Decree ALSO allowed for additional safety measures while that process unfolded, to assure safety, which is legally in the hands of Enbridge and PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration). Enbridge testified that Line 3 was capable of running safely indefinitely IF a “replacement” were not approved. Judge Kollar-Kotelly fails to see her own circular argument, continuing the Enbridge spin for a “replacement” pipeline to simply be handed to them.

The judge seemingly failed to grasp that the challenge was to the illegalities of the Army Corps’ permitting process itself.


So what is the truth? Did the Obama administration’s Consent Decree Order the Replacement of Line 3? The answer is complex. And that’s how Enbridge has apparently successfully deceived the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota Media has become beholden to the Enbridge half-page ads that provide revenue as they drink their messaging kool-aid, rarely investigating (or even asking the opposition parties really) on the bigger questions. I’m not sure why else they have remained so silent throughout this process… rarely sharing the scientific facts while consistently promoting the Enbridge narrative. And limiting – for years now – the voices of Minnesota citizens themselves, showing that most of us oppose this project.

So let’s start with the basics. What is a Consent Decree?

consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States.

Consent Decree – Wikipedia [Because here in the US we are quick to assure that rich, guilty people (or in this case, a Canadian corporation – same thing if you ask the US Supreme Court…) don’t get tarred with the dirtiness of their acts? While we still get some bit of compensation for them? It’s like a game: You’re guilty but we’re gonna pretend you’re not if you just make some promised amends going forward!]

What does the Consent Decree between the Federal Government and Enbridge actually say?

First, filed on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Coast Guard (USCG), it sets as Plaintiff the United States of America and the Defendants as a list of nine Enbridge parties. (Mostly LLCs created for a variety of reasons… generally to avoid financial consequences or burdens that result from not creating additional LLC middlemen.)

The complaint alleges that Defendants own and operate the Enbridge Mainline System – one of the world’s largest pipeline systems with more than 3,000 miles of pipeline corridors in the United States and Canada. The complaint asserts claims against Enbridge under the Clean Water Act Sections 309, which grants Federal Enforcement Authority, and 311 (along with other statutes and regulations):

CWA § 311(c)(2) authorizes the President (delegated to EPA for discharges in the inland zone, as defined in the NCP), to direct all Federal, State, and private action to remove a discharge or to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of discharge of oil or a hazardous substance that is a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States. This authority includes responding to discharges or a substantial threat of discharges from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility.

You can read more about these hazardous substances & their controls in 33 U.S. Code § 1321 – Oil and hazardous substance liability

Why the complaint, one might ask?

Because of Enbridge’s 2010 unlawful discharges of oil from two Lakehead system pipelines. The first was from a rupture on Line 6B near Marshall, Michigan on July 25, 2010 which over two days repeatedly discharged harmful quantities of oil to the navigable waters of the United States, including Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo river and adjoining shorelines. The second spill, occurring two months later, when Enbridge’s Line 6A developed a large leak near Romeoville, Illinois discharging harmful quantities of oil to navigable waters of the United States, including an unnamed tributary to the Des Plaines River, and adjoining shorelines.

While the Consent Decree notes some Enbridge actions, subsequent to the 2010 spills, it’s concerning that much of this work wasn’t done at Enbridge’s discretion but only after PHMSA corrective action orders, in some cases, after additional spills. For example, in 2012, after a third oil transmission pipeline known as Line 14 on the Lakehead System ruptured in a pasture near Grand March, Wisconsin [FFS, Enbridge!?!], PHMSA ordered Enbridge to implement various remedial measures, including hydrostatic testing of the pipeline. This testing is mandatory for new pipelines – to test where ruptures might occur at unrepaired or undiscovered features – with additional checks at the discretion of the company… unless ordered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to do so, as in this case.

In the half-dozen years it took the agreement to be drafted, Enbridge also implemented spill response training recommended by U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve coordination between the company and government emergency responders. [Only after their current practices were found to fail on a massive scale in Michigan and Illinois.] And Enbridge conducted outreach to the public so they can better recognize warning signs of leaks, potential hazards, and the location of Enbridge pipelines, along with methods of notifying Enbridge of a leak. [As was clear in the 2010 Kalamazoo spill, the response team on the Enbridge end didn’t ‘believe’ it was a real leak after it was reported, resulting in a surge of oil being pushed… instead of the pipeline being shut down. Maybe next time the now “trained” public will be believed?]

Resolution of the Complaint is noted to be made by – in addition to civil penalties paid by Enbridge and reimbursement of the US relating to Line 6B discharges – the measures set forth in Section VII of this Decree.


So what exactly does the Consent Decree say about Line 3?

“The obligations of this Consent Decree apply to and are binding upon the United States, and upon Enbridge and any successors, assigns, or other entities or persons otherwise bound by law. … No transfer of ownership or operation … shall relieve Enbridge of its obligations to ensure that the terms of this Decree are implemented.” Enbridge shall require that third-parties and contractors flow down these same requirements to subcontractors.

Here is the specific language on Line 3 Replacement.

Did you catch that key phrase? This one: “provided that Enbridge receives all necessary approvals to do so.”

This is really the crux of the matter, as the PUC and others in Minnesota government have seemingly been persuaded by Enbridge to believe, the US Government “ordered” the replacement of Line 3.

While those words are not untrue in a legal sense, they are not the entire story, and Enbridge has used this to deceive.

In fact, the United States ordered Enbridge to “seek all approvals necessary for the replacement of Original US Line 3″. They were also ordered to “provide approval authorities with complete and adequate information needed to support such approvals.” However, Enbridge was less than forthcoming with information provided to authorities – including a failure to accurately account for their current pipeline capacities (both planned and already implemented expansions in capacity, thus deceptively influencing need) and Environmental Impact Statement information, which was gleaned of significant factors that would have provided reasons for DENIAL.

The Consent Decree SETTLEMENT cannot be used as rationalization for the pipeline approvals as that would imply that the Federal Government has jurisdiction and authority over the State of Minnesota that it DOES NOT.

And if the Consent Decree is the REASON used for approvals, then we can see the circular certainty of Enbridge’s approvals. That appears to be exactly what has happened.

While Enbridge worked on getting said approvals, there remain further restrictions called out in the Decree. “Until decommissioning, … Enbridge shall limit the operating pressure in each segment of Original US Line 3.”

And what if they don’t secure approvals for a replacement pipeline? The Feds have an answer for that too!

If Enbridge has not taken all portions of Original US Line 3 out of service by December 31, 2017, Enbridge shall comply with the additional requirements set forth below:

1. On an annual basis with the exception of the final year of service for the Original US Line 3, Enbridge shall complete valid ILIs of all portions of Original US Line 3 that Enbridge continues to operate, using the most appropriate tools for detecting, charactering (sic), and sizing all of the following: Crack Features, Corrosion Features, and Geometric Features;

2. Enbridge shall identify, excavate and mitigate or repair all Features Requiring Excavation detected in the ILIs required pursuant to Subparagraph 22.d.(1), in accordance with the requirements of Subsection VII.D; and

3. Enbridge shall clean all portions of Original US Line 3 that Enbridge continues to operate and shall use biocide treatments to reduce microbiological activity on a quarterly basis.

Consent Decree Section VII, subparagraph 22.d p. 26-27

Meanwhile… and likely BECAUSE of the Federal Consent Decree Section VII, which added inspection requirements for Enbridge’s current Line 3 pipeline: Line 3 has spilled only 66 gallons in the last dozen years!  Well under 2 barrels!!  Are we really willing to risk destruction of so much valuable natural infrastructure to get better than that – less than 2 barrels in over a decade?

{So, Old Line 3 is trending well…
As is Enbridge’s responsibility for safety?
Thanks, Consent Decree!}

In fact, the current Line 3 may very well be out-performing new pipelines because it is operating under a Consent Decree from the United States government, which requires Enbridge to fully inspect every inch of their Original Line 3 each year – inspection only required every five years for new pipelines. Original Line 3 is the devil we KNOW.  Intimately.  Enbridge knows every inch of that pipeline and gets to know it better – as well as how it is changing over time – as they perform the thorough annual inspections mandated under the Federal Consent Decree.  

We continue to await a response on the injunction request from the Friends of the Headwaters Challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit approval process. Meanwhile, as new pipelines spill more frequently than old, it’s hard to comprehend how a New Line 3 – with 5X less required inspection than current Line 3, and a RUSHED installation process – will protect Minnesotans from a spill.

PHMSA Spill Data shows that, for pipelines, NEWER does NOT mean SAFER.

Enbridge’s Consent Decree Misrepresentation

Tags

, , , , ,


Everyone says that Tar Sands need to stay in the ground.
Greta is on week 136 of Skolstrejk for Klimatet.
I’m on week 323 of fighting this dumb idea Enbridge calls their New Line 3.

So how on Earth did Minnesota end up approving Enbridge to build a Tar Sands pipeline… as the oil industry is massively divesting from and abandoning Tar Sands assets? Science for the People issued a video giving us part of the story. In it, you can see the process and the deceptions that led to an illegal and erroneous approval of a tar sands pipeline through some of Minnesota’s best remaining waters.

Key to the Enbridge spin, though kept largely under wraps until more recently, is their misrepresentation of a 2017 Federal Consent Decree made between Enbridge and the US Government. While Enbridge purports that the Decree REQUIRED them to DECOMMISSION their current Line 3 and BUILD a New Line 3… it’s not quite that simple.

We ordered Enbridge to SEEK a replacement for Line 3, not that permits be given. State Agencies must still conduct all reviews and follow applicable regulations. We’ve implemented some restrictions to the current Line 3 and additional requirements should Enbridge fail to secure said permits.”

Federal Consent Decree explanation portion of Science for the People video plea to President Biden to pull the 404 permit for Line 3 (my emphasis)

This blog gives a bit more of a high level explanation on how things went wrong regarding understandings of the Consent Decree and also a deep dive into the Decree for those more curious to get into the weeds.

Here’s the basics if you want the cliff notes version:

  • The Consent Decree is a settlement agreement crafted, over a half dozen years, by and between Enbridge and the U.S. Government (on behalf of the EPA and the Coast Guard who protect our environment and waters) to allow Enbridge’s continued operation of pipelines after a couple BIG, QUICK failures (6/25/10 near Marshall, Michigan and two months later, near Romeoville, Illinois).
  • The agreement literally says: “Enbridge shall replace… Line 3… provided that Enbridge receives all necessary approvals to do so.”  The problem? Enbridge convinced Minnesota officials and regulators, media and citizens, with a campaign that this “required Line 3 be replaced.” No matter what. Implying approvals were required. [Did no one find it ironic that a company whose pipelines were found to be inadequate would use THAT FAILURE as an excuse for another opportunity to… fail with a NEW pipeline?]
  • If the Courts rule the approvals were not legal, as challenged by many parties against multiple Minnesota Agencies and Commissions, all the current Line 3 construction would be illegal as well. The parties arguing against the project include the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which has alleged for years that there is no Need for the project. Cases begin arguments next week.
  • Bottom line: While the Decree required Enbridge to seek replacement Line 3, it added provisions should approval for replacement NOT HAPPEN, including increased inspections, maintenance, and training, along with other actions to prevent recurring failures of Enbridge’s “Lakehead System”. Enbridge seems anxious for those requirements to go away with a New Line 3.

Now let’s deep dive…

You’ve seen it in comments on FB posts, heard it from the PUC as their justification for approving the project, and seen this idea in news reports… that the Federal Consent Decree “ordered” Enbridge to replace an “unsafe” Line 3.

Enbridge Energy said Biden’s decision on Keystone will have no impact on Line 3 or a similar Line 5 project in Michigan. Unlike the Keystone project, lines 3 and 5 are currently operating, the company said, and the Line 3 replacement was ordered by a consent decree during Obama’s administration.”

Buoyed by Keystone XL, pipeline opponents want Biden to act By AMY FORLITI January 31, 2021 (my highlight)

Enbridge says the work is necessary for safety reasons, and the company also notes the project passed six years’ worth of permit and regulatory reviews, including dozens of public comment meetings and an Obama-era consent decree.”

Canada backs Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project as opposition mounts in Minnesota By Carl Meyer February 2nd 2021 (my highlight)

Kellner added that the project was ordered by consent decree during the Obama administration, and has passed every test during six years of regulatory and environmental reviews.”

As Biden cancels Keystone XL, what’s next for Line 3? by Jennifer Eisenbart  Jan 27, 2021 Aitkin Age (my highlight)

“We owe it to future generations, to the Indigenous communities we’ve signed treaties with, and to every living being on this planet to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure,” Omar tweeted during the day. …

Enbridge Energy spokeswoman Juli Kellner told the Pioneer on Sunday that the projects differ as, “unlike Keystone XL, Line 3 is a currently operating pipeline and its replacement was ordered by a federal consent decree during the Obama Administration.”

Indigenous voices express opposition to Line 3 during Congresswoman Ilhan Omar visit to Bemidji  Written By: Hannah Olson | Feb 1st 2021 (my highlight)

And now even U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly seems to be confused by it mentioning it in her ruling for the Tribes request for a 404 Injunction on the Line 3 project.

Overall, the Court finds the balance of harms and public interest considerations to be a close call. Plaintiffs offer numerous examples of potential environmental harms stemming from the Project’s construction. But the Corps presents persuasive evidence that delaying construction—and in doing so, continuing to rely on Existing Line 3 which Enbridge is required to decommission pursuant to its Consent Decree—also causes ongoing environmental harm and safety risks. And, as noted above, the Court cannot ignore the potential financial losses and harmful economic effects on the local community if construction on the Project were to be delayed. Taking into account all these considerations, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have not definitely tipped the scale in their favor.”

Civil Action No. 20-3817 (CKK) Ruling assumes legality of the permit seeking… (my emphasis)
She fails to grasp that the Consent Decree ALSO allows for additional safety measures while that process is unfolding to assure safety, which is really in the hands of Enbridge and PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration). And Enbridge testified that Line 3 was capable of running safely IF a “replacement” were not approved. She fails to see her circular argument, continuing the Enbridge spin for a “replacement” pipeline to simply be handed to them. The judge seemingly failed to grasp that the challenge was to the illegalities of the Army Corps’ permitting process itself.

So what is the truth? Did the Obama administration’s Consent Decree Order the Replacement of Line 3? The answer is complex. And that’s how Enbridge has apparently successfully deceived the State of Minnesota.

It seems clear to me that Minnesota Media has become beholden to the Enbridge half-page ads that provide revenue as they drink their messaging kool-aid, rarely investigating (or even asking the opposition parties really) on the bigger questions. Not sure why else they would have remained so silent throughout this process… rarely sharing the scientific facts and promoting the Enbridge narrative. And limiting – for years now – the voices of Minnesota citizens themselves, showing that most of us oppose this project.

So let’s start with the basics. What is a Consent Decree?

consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States.

Consent Decree – Wikipedia [Because here in the US we are quick to assure that rich, guilty people (or in this case, a Canadian corporation – same thing if you ask the US Supreme Court…) don’t get tarred with the dirtiness of their acts? While we still get some bit of compensation for them? It’s like a game: You’re guilty but we’re gonna pretend you’re not if you just make some promised amends going forward!]

What does the Consent Decree between the Federal Government and Enbridge actually say?

First, filed on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Coast Guard (USCG), it sets as Plaintiff the United States of America and the Defendants as a list of nine Enbridge parties (LLCs created for a variety of reasons… mostly, I believe, to avoid financial consequences or burdens that result from not creating additional LLCs). The complaint alleges that Defendants own and operate the Enbridge Mainline System – one of the world’s largest pipeline systems with more than 3,000 miles of pipeline corridors in the United States and Canada. The complaint asserts claims against Enbridge under the Clean Water Act Sections 309, which grants Federal Enforcement Authority, and 311 (along with other statutes and regulations):

CWA § 311(c)(2) authorizes the President (delegated to EPA for discharges in the inland zone, as defined in the NCP), to direct all Federal, State, and private action to remove a discharge or to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of discharge of oil or a hazardous substance that is a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States. This authority includes responding to discharges or a substantial threat of discharges from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility.

You can read more about these hazardous substances & their controls in 33 U.S. Code § 1321 – Oil and hazardous substance liability

Why the complaint, you might ask?
[As a general FYI, much of the below is for thoroughness. You who seek specifics on the Line 3 replacement details can skip to Section Heading: So what exactly does the Consent Decree say about Line 3? for quickest read.]

Because of Enbridge’s 2010 unlawful discharges of oil from two Lakehead system pipelines. The first was from a rupture on Line 6B near Marshall, Michigan on July 25, 2010 which over two days repeatedly discharged harmful quantities of oil to the navigable waters of the United States, including Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo river and adjoining shorelines. The second spill, occurring two months later, when Enbridge’s Line 6A developed a large leak near Romeoville, Illinois discharging harmful quantities of oil to navigable waters of the United States, including an unnamed tributary to the Des Plaines River, and adjoining shorelines.

The decree goes on to provide details of the failures, the cleanup efforts, and references to previous natural resources damages (see Background paragraph h in the Consent Decree). Details include costs associated with restoration work and monitoring requirements, along with other settlements.

On a side note: The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the Line 6A Discharges was erosion caused by water jet impingement from a leaking 6-inch diameter water pipe located 6 inches below the Line 6A pipe and that interruption of the cathodic protection currents by the close proximity of the improperly installed water pipe contributed to the discharges. While Enbridge did not own or operate the water pipe, the “NTSB did not issue any safety recommendations to Enbridge or any other entity concerning the Line 6A Discharges.” Gee, wonder how problems keep happening? FFS.

The Consent Decree notes that subsequent to the 2010 spills, Enbridge took several actions [skip if too weedy for your tastes… or read just my emphasized comments bold, bracketed and/or italicized?]:

  1. Pursuant to a corrective action order issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Enbridge developed and implemented the “Lakehead Plan” outlining specific actions and timelines for safety improvements to specified pipelines within the Lakehead System, including procedures for ongoing inspection, replacement, and testing of Enbridge’s lines.
  2. Enbridge, rather than repairing Line 6B, replaced the pipeline which had been operating for 43 years. In 2014, Enbridge completed construction of a 285-mile pipeline (“New Line 6B”) to replace the entirety of original Line 6B, thereafter ceasing operations of Original 6B and removing remaining oil from it. [Kind of like they plan to abandon current Line 3? Clear out oil but leave pipe in place?]
  3. Enbridge expanded and improved upon its use of in-line inspection (ILI) for maintaining the Lakehead System pipelines. These are the “pig” tools which identify and size flaws like cracks or corrosion that require excavation and repair. As of 9/2014, Enbridge had completed 180 ILI runs since 2010 with 5,700 associated excavations.
  4. In 2012, after a third oil transmission pipeline known as Line 14 on the Lakehead System ruptured in a pasture near Grand March, Wisconsin [FFS, Enbridge!?!], PHMSA ordered Enbridge to implement various remedial measures, including hydrostatic testing of the pipeline. This testing is mandatory for new pipelines to test where ruptures might occur at unrepaired or undiscovered features. 196 miles of Line 14 were tested in 2012 without a leak or rupture. In accordance with another PHMSA corrective action order, [does Enbridge require PHMSA to order ALL their inspections???] Enbridge also used testing to confirm integrity on 326 miles of Lakehead System Line 2 in 2015.
  5. Enbridge spent $50M since 2010 spills to improve equipment, training, and overall response for spill events on the Lakehead System. In September 2015, Enbridge, EPA and USCG, along with state and local officials, conducted a full-scale exercise to test plans to respond to a spill in the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge also revised Integrated Contingency Plans (ICPs) for emergency response which were approved by PHMSA and developed Tactical Response plans for specific areas within the Lakehead System, including the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge also implemented spill response training recommended by U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve coordination between the company and government emergency responders. Enbridge also purchased additional emergency response equipment including trailers, boats, portable dam systems, tanks, boom, skimmers, and rig mats. Enbridge also reorganized its emergency management department to improve planning and response capabilities, hiring 20 additional staff that included four Emergency Response Coordinators in its U.S. operations. [Uh, good idea, as they failed so miserably!] They also formed an internal Emergency Response Advisory Team that meets quarterly to ensure emergency preparedness and planning. Enbridge also conducted outreach to the public so they can better recognize warning signs of leaks, potential hazards, and the location of Enbridge pipelines, along with methods of notifying Enbridge of a leak. [As was clear in the 2010 Kalamazoo spill, the response team on the Enbridge end didn’t ‘believe’ it was a real leak after it was reported, resulting in a surge of oil being pushed… instead of the pipeline being shut down.] Also pursuant to another Corrective Action Order by PHMSA, Enbridge installed 55 new remotely controlled valves to reduce potential impacts of spills on certain water crossings. Enbridge also created a role of VP, Enterprise Safety and Operational Reliability and two new committees (Operations and Integrity Committee and Safety Reliability Committee) which include senior executive participation. Finally, Enbridge established a Pipeline Control department with increased staffing dedicated to leak detection, including on-shift personnel dedicated to technical support for pipeline operators and aiding in analysis of leak detection systems. [Maybe now they can figure out that when the public reports a leak, it might BE a leak, and not simply resort to BLOWING out the pipeline in an attempt to dislodge a jam?]

While these corrections are all great, it’s concerning that much of this work wasn’t done at Enbridge’s discretion but only after PHMSA corrective action orders and several major spills. [FFS.]

There is evidence that Enbridge itself seems to grasp the potential dangers as they have, as a part of their final work in the Pipeline Control department, also implemented additional training requirements for operators, such as:

  1. pipeline hydraulics
  2. column separation analysis
  3. incident investigation
  4. emergency response
  5. fatigue management (not sure if this is operator fatigue or metal fatigue)
  6. leak detection

And they now require “semi-annual control room personnel team training that includes a focus on allowing operators to recognize and respond to unexpected conditions that may arise on the Enbridge system, including leaks alarms from the SCADA or MBS systems.” There is also specific mention of actions regarding the Straits of Mackinac:

  1. “regular inspections using ILIs , divers, and remotely-operated vehicles to confirm integrity of Line 5 in the Straits”
  2. increased “frequency of inspections and pipeline repairs above and beyond what is otherwise required by law” and
  3. “partnering with Michigan Technological University to develop new technology that will aid in inspecting the line.”

Resolution of the Complaint is noted to be made by (in addition to civil penalties paid by Enbridge and reimbursement of the US relating to Line 6B discharges) the measures set forth in Section VII of this Decree.

So… what is Decreed in Section VII?

“The obligations of this Consent Decree apply to and are binding upon the United States, and upon Enbridge and any successors, assigns, or other entities or persons otherwise bound by law. … No transfer of ownership or operation … shall relieve Enbridge of its obligations to ensure that the terms of this Decree are implemented.” Enbridge shall require that third-parties and contractors flow down these same requirements to subcontractors.

Injunctive Measures – Section VII of the Consent Decree

We’ll return momentarily to Section B Replacement of Line 3 (pages 25-28), our main concern. [Sorry, it’s a customary process to hold the best bits until the end, eh? Though I did give you that short bullet point version so, no whining, right?!?]

First a bit on the Consent Decree as a whole. NOTE: “Except as specifically provided in this Consent Decree, requirements of this Section VII shall apply to all of the Lakehead System.”

Section A of the Injunctive Measures, Original US Line 6B, notes that Enbridge is “permanently enjoined from operating or allowing anyone else to operate Original US Line 6B for the purposes of transporting oil, gas, diluent, or any hazardous substance.” The meat of the Consent Decree consists of details regarding Hydrostatic Pressure Testing (Section C pages 28-30), inspections and dig requirement details (Section D pages 30-74), and 5 pages dedicated in Section E to the Measures to Prevent Spills in the the Straits of Mackinac. [This and other requirements are the reason for five subsequent modifications to the Consent Decree to report details and changes, none of which affect Section VII B.]

Section F discusses Data Integration (pages 80-83) and Section G the Leak Detection and Control Room Operations details (pages 83-110), with Section G III detailing “Requirements for New Lakehead Pipelines and Replacement Segments” that calls out specific equipment required to mitigate spill prevention.

Section H discusses Spill Response and Preparedness (pages 110-124) and Section I, New Remotely Controlled Valves (on Lines 5, 6A, and 14; pages 124-125). Section J details the Independent Third Party Consent Decree Compliance Verification ordered (pages 126-136).


So what exactly does the Consent Decree say about Line 3?

Did you catch that key phrase… “provided that Enbridge receives all necessary approvals to do so.”

This is really the crux of the matter, as the PUC and others in Minnesota government have seemingly been persuaded by Enbridge to believe, the US Government “ordered” the replacement of Line 3.

While those words are not untrue, they are not the entire story.

In fact, the United States has ordered Enbridge to “seek all approvals necessary for the replacement of Original US Line 3″. They were ordered to “provide approval authorities with complete and adequate information needed to support such approvals.” However, we can show that Enbridge has been less than forthcoming with their information provided to authorities – including pipeline capacity expansions and EIS information that was gleaned of significant factors that would have provided reason for DENIAL.

[If you go to the letter of the law, does that mean they only were to provide information to SUPPORT the approvals, and not to DENY the approvals? Is that how Enbridge justified their inaccuracies provided to State agencies and commissions? Maybe that is the insane legal authority Enbridge is claiming? Does any reasonable person see that as reasonable? This shit gets deep sometimes, y’all.] Keep in mind though…

The ORDER cannot be used as rationalization for the pipeline approvals as that would imply that the Federal Government has jurisdiction and authority over the State of Minnesota that it DOES NOT.

And if the Consent Decree is the REASON for approvals, then we can see the circular certainty of Enbridge’s approvals. That appears to be exactly what has happened.

While Enbridge worked on getting said approvals, there remain some further restrictions. “Until decommissioning, … Enbridge shall limit the operating pressure in each segment of Original US Line 3.”

And what if they don’t secure approvals for a replacement pipeline? The Feds have an answer for that too!

If Enbridge has not taken all portions of Original US Line 3 out of service by December 31, 2017, Enbridge shall comply with the additional requirements set forth below:

1. On an annual basis with the exception of the final year of service for the Original US Line 3, Enbridge shall complete valid ILIs of all portions of Original US Line 3 that Enbridge continues to operate, using the most appropriate tools for detecting, charactering (sic), and sizing all of the following: Crack Features, Corrosion Features, and Geometric Features;

2. Enbridge shall identify, excavate and mitigate or repair all Features Requiring Excavation detected in the ILIs required pursuant to Subparagraph 22.d.(1), in accordance with the requirements of Subsection VII.D; and

3. Enbridge shall clean all portions of Original US Line 3 that Enbridge continues to operate and shall use biocide treatments to reduce microbiological activity on a quarterly basis.

Consent Decree Section VII, subparagraph 22.d p. 26-27

“Meanwhile… and likely BECAUSE of the Federal Consent Decree Section VII which added inspection requirements for Enbridge’s current Line 3 pipeline:

Line 3 has spilled only 66 gallons in the last dozen years!  Well under 2 barrels!!  Are we really willing to risk destruction of so much valuable natural infrastructure to get better than that – less than 2 barrels in over a decade?

{So, Old Line 3 is trending well… And is Enbridge’s responsibility for safety… Thanks, Consent Decree!}

In fact, the current Line 3 may very well be out-performing new pipelines because it is operating under a Consent Decree from the United States government, which requires Enbridge to fully inspect every inch of their Original Line 3 each year – inspection only required every five years for new pipelines. Original Line 3 is the devil we KNOW.  Intimately.  Enbridge knows every inch of that pipeline and gets to know it better – as well as how it is changing over time – as they perform the thorough annual inspections mandated under the Federal Consent Decree.  

And we still await the response on the Friends of the Headwaters Challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit approval process.

Perhaps with the Confirmation of Deb Haaland… we will see some action this week.

Congratulations, Deb!! Our FIRST Native Cabinet Member – far too late, but… WE READY!!!!

Pressure builds on Biden to name Native American Deb Haaland as Interior leader By JENNIFER A. DLOUHY on 11/19/2020

P.S. BIG Thanks to all who helped make this blog possible. My ever-patient and helpful husband Dan for reading and re-reading blogs each week, Friends who gave input and ideas and helped with my understanding (you all know who you are…), and a special thanks to Shannon Peterson for trudging through the draft version and making a WAY Better end product and FB post.

What’s Happening in Pennington County?

Tags

, , , ,


Enbridge Corridor of Death ~ March 8th Update

For those who may not be aware, I do a daily FB update on the Covid situation here in northern Minnesota along the Enbridge Tar Sands pipeline project proposed corridor.

In case you missed it… February had a closure of the Thief River Fall’s Walmart for Valentine’s Day weekend because they couldn’t staff the store… even with support from other locations.

At that time, MPR reported: “There’s been an uptick in cases in northwestern Minnesota recently, though it’s unclear why just yet. All other regions of the state have been seeing cases decline.” [2/16/21]

You can see how their coverage changed over time… with little concern or investigation…

  • On February 16th, warning of “Something worth watching”
  • Letting us know again on the 17th there’s an uptick…
  • And then apparently changing their minds by the 18th and removing the graphic entirely.
  • While the graphic did re-appear in their coverage, no further news until the 27th, when it was noted Dan Huff of Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) sharing “concern”.
  • Two day’s later, concerns disappear and then, as MPR again dropped any level of concern for NW MN from their reporting yesterday… On the same day…MDH noted the area as a COVID-19 hotspot!

For days, this MPR notice went uninvestigated. In my daily COVID updates, I noted the unmasked Enbridge workers throughout the project corridor, the WalMart closure, the upticks in cases… and Pennington County went unaddressed. Tagging the MDH got me nowhere. Emailing the MDH got no direct meaningful response, and certainly not engagement.

While Pipeliners for the Enbridge Line 3 project camp in big numbers in Thief River Falls, rates of infections have been on the rise in the county. We certainly know that pipeliners are circulating in our communities as we saw a couple recently busted for trying to solicit sex, with one carrying an unregistered firearm.

Seven Charged In Itasca County Sex Sting Operation – Youtube – InewzTV

Now, a few weeks later, we see an even more critical sounding situation and I continue to wonder…

Pennington County – 5X the rate of Minnesota at large, 6X the rate of Hennepin County – JHU CRC

Will SOMEONE in the Minnesota State Government POSSIBLY CONSIDER that it might be a result of Enbridge Pipeliners from all over the country? Will ANYONE???

You know, those guys who swing home for a quick weekend if they can get an extra day off to see the kids… and bring back to Minnesota whatever is going on in Texas, or Oklahoma, or North Dakota, Covid-wise? Maybe?

Maybe that holiday trip is what caused this spike for the last month?

Enbridge Coviding our Communities?

Will anything be done? As Enbridge races across our state in hopes to install a pipeline before the Courts can determine that, in fact, there is NO NEED FOR A TAR SANDS PIPELINE.

Let’s suppose, for sake of argument, that it isn’t pipeliners spreading COVID-19. With Tar Sands being described – even in industry news – on a DAILY NOW, as “stranded assets”, we see Shell and Exxon divesting these assets from their books. Climate science dictates these oil sands resources cannot be extracted… at least, not if we want to keep humanity living on this third rock from the sun. This alone is reason enough to halt construction – at least until the court cases can be heard.

The Line 3 Relocation and Expansion Tar Sands Pipeline is NOT an ESSENTIAL project during a Pandemic!

While Covid feels to many to be less of a concern every day as we hear of increasing vaccination levels, there is still so much we do not yet know.

  • What level of protection is offered by each vaccine? {We know none are boasting 100% protection.}
  • How long does the immunity from each vaccine last? {When will one need a booster shot to re-immunize?}
  • How much of that immunity applies to scary new strains like the UK’s B.1.1.7? {Which reportedly is doubling in the U.S. every 10 days.}
  • How will complacency among the vaccinated affect community spread?

OK, so you can see there are still lots of questions…

As we’re already seeing upticks in many counties along Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 corridor.

Counties like Norman and Polk saw early but seemingly controlled spikes. Of late, larger spikes in places where typically very few cases are seen is bringing more concern. Counties like Roseau, Red Lake, and Marshall have also seen jumps. Becker and Beltrami have seen spikes. And Clearwater County already had National Guard in late last year, when staffing was unable to keep up at the Cornerstone Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Bagley.

With few still comprehending the dangers of this steadily mutating virus, let’s hope we see a stop to this fossil fool madness… and soon. #StopLine3

In these Revealing Times…

Tags

, , , , , , ,


As humans race with track-hoes to pretend they can keep doing what they’ve always done…
And the world floods and burns and withers from drought.

As engines beep in movement all around me, building a pipeline for the dirtiest of crude – Tar Sands…
it’s hard to pretend we have any notion of saving ourselves.

As we cut down the very beings that provide us oxygen to breathe.

As many grow excited for schools to open… ready to go back to a “normal” economy…
[Normal? Are we psychopaths? Apparently so.]
… we see the numbers in cases and infections beginning to surge again.

We watch millions focus on dollars and economics… giving not a thought to the water, trees, plants, and bees that make everyday life possible.  Will we soon realize how dependent we have become on systems that do not support life but instead bring death?

The fossil fuel industry is taking itself out… as the climate chaos we saw in Texas – and throughout the middle of the country – was a result of the burning we’ve done for centuries now.

And for decades now – longer for those selling the fossil fuels – while we knew exactly what they were delivering… we did nearly nothing?  Simply burning fossil fuels faster and faster?

How will our children forgive us? Or rather, will they?

In addition to the fuels and plastics, the oil industry brings death and extinction for life of all kinds. 
And now – are we realizing… that “life” is ours?

As loads of freight remain in place, unmovable with no electricity to fill tanks with gas, ratios of loads to drivers go to astronomical figures… Indy shoots from 7 loads per driver to 37… while in Cincy reefer trucks, normally around the mid-30s, report their status as not available… with over 200 loads and zero drivers to move them.  Watch those store shelves as we “catch up” from the backlog caused by the polar vortex we created?

Or will we get to watch as production lines slow… because there is no shipment of already done freight…
and before you can make more, you need to move out what you have?

And will we again have loads of milks and potatoes dumped and buried as we have no way to move food in the massive system we’ve created… so un-localized and heavily reliant on fuels?

Can many of us foresee how much worse 2021 will be in comparison to 2020? Even with the vaccinations… and the talk of environmental justice… and green paths going forward… from the all-hands-on-deck portrayed administration that is calming and encouraging so many?

The new managers don’t calm us.  Not those of us who’ve seen that already [!!!] we’re headed for 5-6° warming…
with 1.5° being a dream scenario that we lost in decades past.

It’s been 875 days since the IPCC 1.5° report was issued giving us a dozen years.
And I heard this past week that the UN is now giving us 10 months to get it together?
Anyone noticed the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) slowing?
Faster than many can predict? [Well, than many are realizing…
The scientists always have someone quietly saying, “You might want to consider this…”]

As we watch a Tar Sands pipeline project proceed across the state of Minnesota…
just outside the living room window.

As if we can all just…
Go back to “normal”.


The worst of the 1918 Spanish Flu were the deaths in the Spring of 1920. Does this still await?

While some caw about vaccines, we also watch as these quick-whip cures kill with cytokine storm jump starts via injection.  I see why some aren’t ready… even if they aren’t on the list… of those who can get the magic elixers.

Every day, we watch… as it seems we lose ground…
sacrificing the trees and wetlands of Northern Minnesota…
to a Canadian corporation treating this place like it’s their colony.

Bought and paid for agencies beholden to their regulatory captors got us into this mess. 
Will they have the courage to save us?
If not, will the courts? 

If not, we will simply keep trudging toward extinction…
like the elephants seeking water in African deserts…
or polar bears seeking another ice island on which to take a breather?

Or will we be running from the flood as it wipes our house away?

Or from the flames that race to devour us?

As the world burns…

Water Protectors – Speaking up with so few listening. Perhaps they’ll listen now?

Expectations… Those Bitches

Tags

, , , ,


This isn’t what I envisioned…

I guess it almost never is.

Expectations.

Those Bitches.


Some random thoughts from the HARN this past week
(in no particular order):

Why is it that only people in wheelchairs or who are visibly physically handicapped in some way are called “disabled”. Do we realize that, if we live long enough, we ALL WILL BECOME disabled? Is that what drives us from engagement? Should we maybe give the voices of the disabled some room? Might they help teach us to live with dignity as we lose our abilities? Show us how to shine with our circumstances? Might we realize the value of every human more fully?

How much of this is about the chemicals they keep putting in our bodies…
glyphosate, toxins in our baby food, and what is in those vaccines?
Why do we trust that Big Pharma has good ideas? Aren’t THEY grabbing at straws?
Didn’t they get us into this mess in the first place with ‘better living through chemicals’?
Meanwhile, they UK won’t eat our bacon! Shouldn’t that tell us something?

Or are we so PROUD of our EMANCIPATION from Britain [still] that we refuse to acknowledge the UK, let alone any of Europe – who’ve been managing for far longer than us? Not to mention the Indigenous folks who lived in this land for millennia in reciprocity? You know, those people ‘America’ has been and continues to try to wipe from the face of the land?

Line 3 is just another form of genocide.

How many Americans believe Indians are no longer around? Or did until recent years when, beautifully, we are giving more attention to these voices and we see more and more rise to stand together with Native Peoples? Watch out… the Supreme Court is ruling in their favor. Those Treaties – they matter. 😉

Shout out to Martin Case who helped broaden my understanding of Treaties as being pretty much just about Property Rights. And as we watch thousands of Americans being evicted from their residences, in winter, perhaps we will all take some time to READ the Treaties? They’re short. You can read them all in about an hour. Easily. Danny and I spent an afternoon reading them. Taking breaks in between to discuss the atrocities and absurdity of each. A contract was made for 25-years… and before that contract could expire, they came back and made another contract… until the contract language met colonizer wishes. How can these treaties hold any legal status if they are based on a false understanding of the first signers?
How can people who believe land to be a relative ever consider OWNING it?
The basis of this entire country is on lies.

If you take a moment to read the Treaties – and literally, it’s a few pages of text (p. 45-53) – you will be astounded by the atrocities. You see the undervaluing of colonizers and the deals – the corruption in government has always been…

And now we see the Feds saying $1400 will last until July? IN WHAT WORLD? One Senator said the $600 check would last 6 months – in what world can ANYONE survive on $100/month? Real easy for a Senator making FAR MORE [who is provided Health Care no less?] to say this? Doesn’t make it so… No matter how many times you say it, dude.

I’d propose we let Senators live on a minimum wage and see how long they last.

Yet they put TRILLIONS into the Market and don’t even DISCUSS IT? Why is it when PEOPLE need support, there’s no money? But when Billionaires and their Casino need it, we just print whatever is deemed necessary?

Is anyone prepared for the pending collapse? For $20 bread costs? Do we think it won’t happen here? What gives the average American ANY CONFIDENCE that the government is gonna protect them? We just watched as Republicans refused to acknowledge we’ve had an insurrection! In broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon. Just like Kavanaugh!

These politicians live in a fantasy world of greed and economics while most Americans are struggling to figure out how to get to work to be able to feed their families and pay for housing? And watch as many are being kicked to the street in mid-winter – a vicious one at that?

I get why ppl just say FUCK IT and put a bullet in their brains. We’ve seen more of late. We just got a call from a friend whose daughter was found dead of suicide. We hear talk of struggles and feelings of hopelessness and unsuccessful attempts. I imagine this will be a more common occurrence as many in America find themselves with fewer and fewer options in this game of survival of the richest. I pray we keep reaching out to help each other get through all the BS.

If this is a concern for you – check out Anxiety in the pandemic – why you’re told it’s your fault from Russell Brand. He’s been putting out some pretty cool stuff and this was especially informative and comforting. And ask for help when you need it.

Is it not until it is Your Own Mess that it becomes clear how rigged the system is? And maybe see the disparities that show we require solidarity, not supremacy? Yet we see White Supremacy America screaming about freedom! Can’t be bothered with the discomfort of a mask even if it does save Grandma?

And what does it matter… as depopulation is something that will help the planet? [We’ve always thought humans a plague on the planet.]

Nimaamaa Aki – Mother Earth – She is depopulating the planet now. At our direction. We’ve created a pandemic with our actions and it’s coming back to bite us humans. We’re seeing hundreds of thousands killed in the climate chaos of floods, fires, drought, hurricanes, and tornados. Mostly the result of human burning of fuels. We are our own executioners. Well, some of us more than others…

Humans, especially in America, continue to live in denial, helping exacerbate the issues – as many ignore Her power, living on coasts that are submerging, building in places where strikes occur year after year? FFS, how many times has Duluth rebuilt their waterfront?

And some believe Bill Gates’ is vaccinating humanity to death as a de-population objective. I find it hard to argue that powerful folks are NOT simply trying to reduce the ranks… [as they automate their factories and don’t need so many of us?] As I watch the managers (not leaders – we no longer have many of them really) misinform about masks, then say they are ok, all while NOT TALKING ABOUT BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM or Vitamin D or other supplements that CLEARLY help mitigate the effects and symptoms of Covid?

The Arctic Sea ice is gonna continue to melt, the oceans will continue to warm, the warming water will expand and levels continue to rise, and when the Greenland ice shelf breaks free, New York will be gone. Yet we have NO PLAN IN PLACE? And San Fransisco is going under with major waste water treatment plant concerns near-term.

Read Ted Koppel’s Lights Out if you think there are plans. Every department thinks the OTHER is on top of things. The DOD, DHS, FEMA – none are prepared. The people that have these responsibilities have failed and we’ve got 4 years of a non-functioning government that mean a big hole we have to escape.

And Why TF do we need nine people to tell us the weather in Miami? Are those seven guys just taking credit for the work of those two women? That seems to be how things go, if you look close… It’s often not until women get involved that CHANGE FOR THE PEOPLE happens. And you see the kids on the protest lines? Lotta them are chickas… just sayin’…

Did you know that the military used to just issue guys boots and clothes and such… whether they fit or not – YOU MAKE IT WORK. Then women get into the military and are like, “No, these boots are not effective.” and they bitched about it… until they got gear that fit and made ALL the soldiers more effective because EVERYONE GOT GOOD BOOTS THAT FIT after that. [Kinda makes you wish there were more “bitches” about, eh?]

Meanwhile, in DC, Insurrectionists WALKED INTO the CAPITOL. If you think that wasn’t an inside job, you’re fooling yourself. Last year we watched George Floyd be murdered before our eyes and this year we watched as a policeman was beat to death by his own people! He voted for Trump, FFS!

Meanwhile, no one has been impeached and convicted. Johnson survived by one vote. Nixon RESIGNED and LEFT before they could impeach him. Clinton was impeached and acquitted. The penultimate impeachment involved no witnesses, no evidence… and, apparently, no guilt??? And the latest American news talked FREELY, OPENLY and INCESSANTLY about how we all WATCHED WHAT WE SAW… and then Republicans do not convict? And we’re supposed to respect them? When they don’t respect the very Citizens they represent?

It’s the Illusion of Accountability Show. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court refused to do his part under the Constitution! It doesn’t say ‘if he wants to’. And Americans have yet to revolt?

We may see the rest of the world revolt with embargos [WTF do we really make here anymore anyway?] as they watch the Apartheid in America? It’s becoming more of an authoritarian police state with media supporting the powers that be and their messaging every day. Look at coverage in MN on Line 3 as an example… and the law enforcement colluding with Enbridge.

The Constitution is like the Treaties… you can read it too in about an hour.

Or maybe we’re gonna be like the Soviet Union? Get all split up into Regions? FEMA regions would make sense as it seems this was our Coronavirus response – we’re District Five. Do you know your FEMA district? [Are any of you recognizing the Hunger Games appearance of those on the news? While the rest of us are Zooming without pants? Will we all soon be relying on FEMA? Take a look at Snowpiercer again?]

This is the Winter of our discontent. [We’re only in second winter here. March-April winter yet to come.]

Can we watch what is happening in Europe and Africa and take heed? Or will America (seemingly) continue to think we are a different kind of human? We’ve got YEARS more to get through this Pandemic. And if vaccines only last 3-6 months, how can we keep up? Unless more of us die and there’s less of a burden in keeping up? Well, there is always that…

Mozambique hit with 3 hurricanes last year. Honduras and Guatemala hit by hurricanes a week apart. Floods in China, Italy, India. Why do you think Elon Musk wants to launch multiple rockets at a time? Talking of a Fleet of Rockets? WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY GOING?

If America is about being willing to fight to the top of the mountain, crawling over whoever we need to to get there, is that a society in which we want to live?

Does anyone wonder why we’re so fucked up and never question that there are so few women, disabled people, Natives, children, recent immigrants representing us and informing the decisions being made on our behalf? Rich, old, white people, mostly guys, are running the show. WHY DO WE PUT ALL HOPE IN THESE FEW WHITE PEOPLE?

I’ll hold that if we’d let the PEOPLE speak in 2014, we’d have had Bernie as President. [And if we’d done it in 2019, we’d have seen a landslide.] And perhaps all these White Supremacists would be hiding back in their holes of societal disapproval instead of planning another takeover in a couple weeks? March fourth, anyone? [All those years of focus on 45… gee, looks like we could have just stopped watching long ago?]

Biden is basically reinstating the CCC to do all the kinds of things they did then, planting trees, building roads, supporting the local infrastructure needs with a civilian servant corps. This could be a gap-year option for teens looking to figure out who they want to be before jumping into a career after school is done? [If ‘schools’ even exist as some kind of an entity that leads to college?Which could be a good thing as there aren’t many jobs available?]

And will MANY be looking to require some kind of training to a new job – like growing food or helping others in the community? As we work to live more locally and sustainably? As we realize the real important work of connecting with each other, supporting each other, and enjoying the richness of nature and living simply? Will we tire of the consumption… before it consumes us?

What are so many gonna do Thursday if the fast food workers DO walk off the job? Maybe being hungry will give some more folks a perspective? Unfortunately, the ones to suffer are always those without resources to find another path.

The ECONOMIC segregation leads to EDUCATIONAL segregation leads to OPPORTUNITY segregation. And we all stay in our places.

At some point we will need to stand up and say, Enough is Enough.
This is NOT what we want and we WILL NOT continue.
And in the end… Love Wins.

“Love wins every, single, time when we join hands and fight for it just like it fights for us. Even islands are connected by water. Nature knows that without connection, there is no love and without love, there is no survival.”

 J. Autherine, Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul: Poems and Inspiration to Live and Love Harmoniously