Is that you don’t know where they are until you pass them.
There has been a lot of talk these last few weeks and months about the Climate Crisis in which we find ourselves. Ever since that IPCC report, lots more people are like, “We gotta DO something!”
Now, some of us have seen this shit storm coming. Some of us have been trying to tell y’all we might want to think about doing something… But some of you are just realizing how truly catastrophic a situation we are in and that it’s only getting more dire more quickly than perhaps anyone anticipated. And it’s hard for me to comprehend HOW it’s taken you this long. But you are light years ahead of the Climate Deniers. Special kind of stupidtacular to have a belief system that humans aren’t impacting the planet. I mean, there’s A LOT of us here!!
Everyone has started talking about the many signs, the many concerns, and lots of people are mentioning Tipping Points.
From our friends at Merriam-Webster A tipping point is the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.
Another way of looking at this is what we have here. On the upside of a Tipping Point, you’re working real hard to get to the top. But once you hit that Tipping Point, you better hope no one is in the way on the other side cause it’s going to completion fast.
Dan thinks we’re about where the “Snowball” is. I like to think we’re somewhere past the Tipping Point but still behind the arrowhead. He predicts that, until something REALLY BIG happens, most of the people aren’t truly going to realize how little time we may have left. Everyone seems to simply keep living how they’re living, not giving much thought to climate crises until they hear about a whole town being destroyed by fire or a giant hurricane hits with millions of dollars in damages. Or until Miami goes underwater. Or Manhattan. Or Orlando. Yeah, I think it’s gonna take Orlando for a few folks. Or maybe some major heat wave that kills tens of thousands (of white people – yeah, for most of them it’s gonna have to be white people before they really believe it’s an issue).
The trouble with Tipping Points, is that you don’t know where they are until you pass them. And then you better hope you can manage the ride over the edge cause it’s often big, fast, and unstoppable. Sometimes when we hear people talking about the changes they are going to make, we’re like, “There’s no time for that! We gotta think sooner, like yesterday.”
It seems like the current political powers that be, in large part, are completely out of touch with the urgency. Dan likes to say, “They see the writing on the wall and are like, ‘heck, we’re going over a cliff… we might as well floor it and see how far we can fly before we crash.'” The current Republican president thinks gas and oil development of our entire country is a welcome business venture. Meanwhile, we’re fighting to stop a new Tar Sands pipeline here in Northern Minnesota.
I will be happy if I’m proven wrong but I do seriously think that in another decade we will be living on a very different planet than the one on which we live today.
Last week I had quite the insight into our new Governor and so this week I share about the experience and the newly gained information. Unfortunately, I’m realizing I may have been right about this guy from the start in thinking that he’s too old, too white, and too bought to really stand with the people.
It all began with hearing a blip of an MPR news story on my jump into the car in Alexandria as I headed to the Cities for a weekend of meetings and training. I was astounded to hear Governor Walz saying something that I knew was misleading… Ironically, I was headed for a meeting on Pipeline Resistance. I had no idea how this news story would change the next 24 hours for me.
“We ran unabashedly that climate change will kill the planet and stop our future. We must act boldly and move forward on that. We said that, and a million people voted against us.” ~ Governor Tim Walz, commenting to youth from Minnesota Can’t Wait (hoping they’d fall for his implication that ALL those votes against him were about our climate crisis)
I listened as the story concluded with Hope, Mr. Walz’ 18-year-old daughter, coming from the back of the room to express interest in the group as if she could hold her dad accountable. (More on that later.) I knew this was something that I would ask about at the pipeline meeting later that evening. I was hopeful that someone from this youth meeting would be present there.
I felt an urgent need to address his comments when I soon heard another story on the radio about how The Great and Powerful Walz had asked his new Commissioner for the Department of Commerce, Steve Kelley, to review the DOC lawsuit against the PUC. Late last month, the DOC filed said suit, earning praise from then Governor Mark Dayton.
“The governor has asked the department to take another look, with the change of administrations, at the Enbridge litigation, and that’s my responsibility to do. And let’s say I just haven’t finished that job in the last two days.”
Steve Kelley, during a panel discussion hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce as reported by Walker Orenstein in MinnPost 1/10/19
Did you read that as I did? Did you see that he says he hasn’t finished the job “in the last two days”? This means that one of the first items of business for Governor Walz, on DAY ONE, was to call into question the need for the DOC suit alleging that the PUC acted illegally in approving the Certificate of Need and Route Permit for Line 3.
“I put my Line 3 binder in my car this evening to read.
Steve Kelley, DOC Commissioner discussing the request by Gov Walz to review the issue
What environmentalists want to know is HOW BIG IS THIS BINDER? I mean, the Final Environmental Impact Statement easily filled a half dozen binders on its own. The full record includes many more binders’ worth of information relevant to this decision with weeks of public comment hearings, thousands of pages of input from written public comments (including those of over 68,000 in opposition to the project – and less than 4,000 in support) and testimony in front of the Administrative Law Judge who reviewed the Line 3 issue, ruling against the Enbridge proposal.
As such, members of MN350’s Pipeline Resistance Team planned an action in Governor Walz’ office to provide him with a few binders of our own. MN350 organized 5 binders from intervening parties (Friends of the Headwaters, Youth Climate Intervenors, Honor The Earth, and two tribal bands) with 1000 pages of documentation on the science against Line 3 and the violation it would pose to Treaty Rights. We took these binders, along with more than a dozen citizens from a variety of environmental and political groups to see TGaPW. One in our group was even a Supervolunteer from Walz’ campaign. We spoke to his receptionist asking for a meeting (AGAIN – this group had been to the office several times since the election and I believe this was the 4th time when I joined them). This time, we weren’t taking the “you can request to schedule a meeting” answer. We asked to speak to someone who could assure us a meeting IS scheduled.
Eventually, Patrick, TGaPW’ assistant Chief of Staff came out to join us. Several of us spoke again on how critical this decision on Line 3 is and why TGaPW needs to side with the science. After I admonished him for smiling (it really looked like a smirk but could have been a nervous tick) while I discussed in my statement the potential demise of thousands of plants and wildlife, Brian Pastarr stepped up as good cop and asked if Patrick could personally give us his commitment to follow through and get us a meeting.
It was an exhilarating experience and I will do this kind of thing again in a heartbeat. Made me uber happy to have been in town early for a weekend training so that I could participate in this action. And, was it worth it? Yes. On the car ride back to the office, we got a phone call from the Executive Director of MN350 noting that Walz’ Chief of Staff, Chris Schmitter, had been in contact to schedule a meeting. 🙂
Water Protectors at the Inaugural Ball had another successful action. Coverage in the Star Tribune indicated “a handful of protesters” but failed to mention that the Great and Powerful Walz himself never took the stage. (In fact there was some mention later in the evening about his being there “earlier” but I’m pretty sure he just greeted some folks in protected quarters. He didn’t take the stage during the actual ball at all.) I think it was because there were much more than a handful of Water Protectors present, many holding banners showing opposition to Line 3 and supporting the recognition of Treaty Rights. Tim is either afraid to face these citizens or is unsure how to address them. I can tell you from the personal report of one Indigenous young woman this past Friday at the Capitol and my personal witness of TGaPW interacting with an Indigenous elder friend of mine at the Bemidji “Listening Tour” stop, he has not done a great job to date. Listening is NOT his strong suit with citizens, at least not if you are Indigenous. I’m starting to wonder if Peggy Flanagan is a stooge.
Speaking of stooges, it appears TGaPW has also co-opted his own daughter. Hope, an 18-year-old high school student, was brought to the meeting where TGaPW spoke with Minnesota Can’t Wait, a group of young people working to urge him to act boldly on climate. During his discussion with these youth, TGaPW said only three people spoke to him about climate change during the campaign. This is so obvious a lie that it boggles the mind no one dared to question it. I am sure that during his campaign stop in Alexandria alone more than a half dozen would have mentioned it as a concern.
So what was Hope’s role? To act like she had an interest and would be holding her dad accountable. But if you watch the video closely, you will see that, while the main youth speakers are reading their stories, she’s quietly consulting her phone or looking around, as if to see who might be watching her. Her performance is less than stellar so, with no career in film acting, it’s maybe a good thing her daddy appears to be grooming her for public office. He’s got a big job ahead of him in this venture.
Walz said his administration is reviewing the matter and will soon make a decision. “There is always the potential in our system—and it’s healthy—to have judicial review or that capacity to go in if it’s warranted. If it’s not, then you continue to move forward,” he said. “So, we are just at an evaluation and a review stage right now.”
Send a comment. Make a call ~ 1-800-657-3717. Let him know if he doesn’t Stop Line 3 we will make him a one-term governor. Tell him the science backs STOPPING Line 3, as Dr. John Abraham from the University of St. Thomas describes, it would bring the CO2 equivalent of 50 coal-fired power plants. I submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Star Tribune which will apparently never get printed so I end with it here for your consideration. Just wish TGaPW would see it…
Is Walz with the Science on Line 3?
Since taking office, Governor Walz has repeatedly said to those urging him to Stop Line 3 that he’s “only been in office three hours”. Yet on their third day in office, his newly appointed Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley announced he had been directed by the Governor to evaluate whether or not to proceed with a recent DOC lawsuit. Just before Governor Dayton left office, the DOC filed a lawsuit challenging the PUC’s decision to approve Enbridge’s New Line 3 Tar Sands pipeline project. Dayton praised the decision saying, “Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law.”
Kelley’s announcement came the very day that Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan met with Minnesota Can’t Wait, a group of youth calling for urgent and robust action to mitigate climate change for the sake of the their futures. It also came one day prior to the delivery of a letter to Walz’ office signed by 2,500 who are urging him to expedite the Line 3 project.
Kelley highlighted the administration’s commitment to “progressive values” and “making fact-based decisions.” Walz himself has stated his administration, “must follow a transparent, clear, and robust process that is based in facts and science.” I can only hope that they are acting in good faith to abide by science and, with this additional review of the DOC lawsuit, preparing to put the final nails in the coffin for Line 3. Tell Governor Walz to Stop Line 3.
I have been thinking for a while that America is his own worst enemy. [Yes, “his” is intentional.] We have, from the beginning been a country focused on self-centered, elitist, careless, and cruel action. We began the colonization of this land with a genocide of the Indigenous people who were here before our arrival. We continued to build negative Karma with the enslavement of Blacks who we imported to create and build our economy. Throughout our history we abused and tortured many waves of Immigrants, each group having to prove themselves worthy, typically by waiting until a next group arrived to take their place in the chain of victimization.
“Trump’s decisions on Syria and Afghanistan will lay bare the real distinctions in American politics. Political power in this country is not divided between right and left, and not even between rich and poor.
The real line is between a war party, and everyone else.”
~ Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
And it’s true, we are the Arms Dealer to the World and we are responsible for much of the destruction and devastation on this planet. It’s how we became the big boy on the street and how we finance much of our economy. It’s also sadly how we spend most of our tax dollars.
I long for the days of Dennis Kucinich and his talk of a Department of Peace. Imagine if we took all the money we spend on “defense” and war and instead spent it on infrastructure, health, education, living wages, and PEACE!
Dan and I visited the Rabideau Civilian Conservation Corps Camp this past fall. It was interesting to read the stories of how the camp began, was supported, and functioned. Housing for able-bodied men was built and training was supplied by under/unemployed locals with skills. These men would provide for themselves and do projects in the Chippewa National Forest from surveying and building roads to wildlife protection and forestry. There was also a less successful version for women. Perhaps this visit was one of the events that got me to thinking that there must be a way to make some kind of program that would accomplish these tasks in today’s world.
We have an available unemployed population and a lack of jobs for these individuals. And we have an abundance of aging retirees with skills to share… and often nothing very productive to do with their time. We have a tremendous need for infrastructure development. We have a need for caregivers for every age group from children to elderly, with much of them in need of housing and food. We have a need for equipping people with skills that can be useful to them in creating value for themselves, their families, and their communities.
If we created an opportunity, we would find many willing, or simply desperate enough, to come work for room and board and a small stipend. God knows there are migrants at the border seeking asylum and we could provide for them as well as our own citizens.
What if we built a system of renewable energy that allowed us to completely divest from the dirty fossil fuel industry? What if we helped do this in other countries too? Would they not hate us then? It certainly would do much for our mitigation of the climate change that appears to be making our planet less and less livable.
What if we built tiny houses for our homeless? Or better yet, assured everyone had equal access to resources so we didn’t create a situation where people become homeless? [Interesting to see how Canada differs from the US in causes of homelessness. Even the way the information is presented seem to show our cultural differences.]
What if we assured that all children had books instead of a parent who is gone from home as a soldier overseas? [Interesting, when I went to Google how many children had parents “in the service” many links pop up for children who have a parent who is incarcerated. While this is another concern we could likely fix with a focus on positive rather than negative, the information I found on military was largely out of date or vague… but this was interesting…]
Our soldiers and our unemployed, and their families, could all be made whole as we focused on positive COOPERATION and BUILDING rather than negative KILLING and DESTRUCTION. And our citizens would be happier if we were all able to make a living wage.
This could be what the Green New Deal brings us. A focus on building positive things and a moving away from negative forces. Consideration of the people who have been straddled with the waste and pollution of our energy and manufacturing and then evening the playing field for their well-being. Realizing that everything in interconnected and solving problems requires a team that considers this complexity.
And I’m sure there could be a Smart Healthy New Deal that could deal with healthcare systems and education elements.
But then, I’m a socialist. While I think most of us are if we really think about it – I mean, who doesn’t like public roads, schools, libraries, fire stations, and Americans’ favorite… Social Security – capitalism has taken over by and large and perhaps it’s not possible in today’s America.
I’m not sure we have the ability to get there at present. Americans are too busy just trying to make ends meet to even consider WHY they can’t make ends meet and what could be different to make that not so. Americans are too forgetful, just hearing the atrocities of the day and then going on with making dinner and watching television. And Americans are too arrogant to admit that they might have done anything wrong and so see no need to apologize for their past misdeeds, often blaming a previous generation while not realizing our current generation is creating its own misdeeds, even if only due to ignorance and leaving the current system of power in place.
So, as some kind of requirement I’m guessing, the Army Corps of Engineers sent out a mailer. Not sure of the distribution and, based on reading it, can’t really tell its purpose. It just seems like another vague, meaningless, government mailer, only differing from those glossy campaign ads in its plainness… perhaps hoping to go unnoticed by the citizenry.
Being a Water Protector involved in the Stop Line 3 movement, I knew there was more to this than it appeared in this simple mailer. If you investigate further, you can read the MUCH LONGER Public Notice available online. It’s a bit more forthcoming…
I urge you to see past the mailer’s spurious nature and take action. It does reference Line 3 but fails to note that the new line will be transporting Tar Sands. It gives some details of the application for permit but seems innocuous with its “temporarily discharge fill material” start. Do they want you to think this is just a temporary thing happening? “No need to worry, Citizen, this is no big deal,” it seems to say. “Go about your business.”
In actuality, the permit being requested is to install a permanent pipeline through wetlands and crossing multiple bodies of water throughout Northern Minnesota. It is a pipeline that would carry Tar Sands oil from Canada, through Minnesota, to make it available for export, likely to China. This is the exact material that, if we’d like to avoid destroying our planet’s ability to sustain human life, needs to remain IN THE GROUND. Even Exxon realized that this material is not worth extracting…
“Exxon has long resisted calls to erase these reserves from its books, insisting that it would dig up the tar sands someday, according to Inside Climate News. When a company erases an investment off the books, it’s effectively saying, “We bought something that’s now worthless.” This isn’t an easy thing to admit. “
2/23/17 article for Grist.com by Nathaneal Johnson
And it is the first of an estimated 5-6 pipelines that Enbridge likely plans to install in the 220′ easement they are requesting from homeowners. A typical pipeline would request 50-75′ of easement for a new pipeline. This Enbridge request clearly appears to be for a new PIPELINE CORRIDOR.
Enbridge Inc. has submitted a permit application for activities affecting water resources associated with the proposed construction of the Line 3 replacement crude oil pipeline across Minnesota, and a nearly one-mile segment in North Dakota. The Corps of Engineers is evaluating the application for (1) construction-related impacts to wetlands, specifically the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S.; (2) work in, over or under navigable waters; and (3) crossings of federal projects. …
(1) Construction of the pipeline would temporarily impact more than 1,000 acres of wetlands, and permanently impact 10 acres; if authorized Enbridge would restore all temporarily-affected wetlands to pre-construction conditions and mitigate for permanent impacts
(2) The project proposes crossing 211 water bodies, three of which are considered navigable waters (emphasis mine)
(3) There is a single request to alter the Lost River Flood Control Project, a channel clearing and snagging project, located in Red Lake County, Minnesota
USACE does not regulate the overall construction or operation of pipelines, nor does it regulate the siting of any type of pipeline/utility line or any substance being transported within a pipeline.
Notice how they don’t mention the two crossings of the Mississippi River? Notice the simple reference to “navigable waters”? Again, this appears to be hiding the facts from the public. And THIS is one reason why we need a full Public Hearing regarding this decision.
The website also provides many links, which can keep you busy for hours (if you too dare to commit to a more full understanding of what is happening in our fair state). But the bottom line is that we need EVERY CITIZEN to submit public comment and REQUEST PUBLIC HEARINGS on this decision.
7. PUBLIC HEARING REQUESTS. Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings shall state, in detail, the reasons for holding a public hearing. A request may be denied if substantive reasons for holding a hearing are not provided or if there is otherwise no valid interest to be served.
US Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice regarding Enbridge’s Permit Request for a New Line 3
Enbridge would like you to believe that their lines are safe… while they have one of the worst safety records of all the fossil fuel companies. Enbridge would like you to believe they are a good corporate citizen… but ask the people of Marshall. Michigan how well they were treated following the disastrous spill there. Enbridge would like you to believe there will be LOADS of jobs… while in reality, there will be a handful and some say only one permanent full-time position will result from the installation.
Enbridge is known for their lies. They are lying to us now.
Please pay attention to this notice. Please help make an effort to save Minnesota from the invasion of a Tar Sands pipeline through our lovely state.
The website does not much more than the mailer to direct you on how to make comment. But at the very bottom of the 13 page notice, it explains what you can do. NOTE: DEADLINE is January 21, 2019
Interested parties are invited to submit to this office written facts, arguments, or objections within 30 days of the date of this notice. These statements should bear upon the suitability of the location and the adequacy of the project and should, if appropriate, suggest any changes believed to be desirable. Comments received may be forwarded to the applicant. Written comments may be emailed to: CEMVP-L3R-PN-Comments@usace.army.mil Written comments may be mailed to: St. Paul District Corps of Engineers, CEMVP-OP-R 180 Fifth Street East, Suite 700 Saint Paul, MN 55101 1678. To receive Regulatory Public Notices by e-mail, go to: http://mvp-extstp/list_server/ and add your information in the New Registration Box.
Thank you for your support. It’s going to take ALL OF US.