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Below are my comments to the DNR on their permitting process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3. Please feel free to submit your own comments via this link. Deadline is May 17th @ 4:30 PM. You can also post comments via mail (postmarked by May 17th) to:
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Line 3 Replacement Applications
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

I am writing to request that all permits for this deadly pipeline be refused. The very process of submitting public comments itself is daunting, requiring one to select the specific area of concern, which would indicate one was well-versed in the technical breakdowns of the federal and state laws. Why can’t we simply comment on the fact that this pipeline poses an existential threat to life on earth as scientists have clearly stated that TAR SANDS MUST STAY IN THE GROUND if we hope to have A VIABLE PLANET FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE??? Yes, locally, the spills it has, which we know it will – ALL PIPELINES LEAK – will endanger our water. Yes, we know it is a violation of Treaty Law – the highest law of the land – as it endangers their traditional way of life from worship to sustenance to livelihood. The pipeline is already creating havoc in the environment – that Indigenous people maintained for millennia and we colonists have largely destroyed in only a couple centuries – as trees are clearcut for the new corridor.

And this constant assumption by Enbridge that they will get their way – pipes are staged throughout the region and clear cutting has begun even before the DNR or MPCA have given their approvals – is just another devastating effect on the people and environment of this proposed Line 3. The hurt has been ongoing for years now. PLEASE STOP this ASAP with a denial of all permits. Enbridge’s desecration of Minnesota must STOP.

The very process of DNR’s public information campaign – with webinars only provided days before comment periods close – seems geared to not include real debate and discussion at the citizen level. And it seems the agency may be poised to simply rubber-stamp the permits for fear that “Enbridge will sue” if they do not. When did Enbridge become the sole decider for Minnesota’s future? A foreign oil corporation that is rapidly losing financial backers, has a horrible safety record, and currently operates a deteriorating pipeline that Minnesotans live in daily fear of rupturing should be determining what we allow in our state? REALLY???

It is time for thoughtful and SCIENTIFIC consideration of this situation. And if we do that, the answer will be to tell Enbridge to go packing.

Science has shown that we have a decade to determine if humans will work with an Apollo-program or WWII level of dedication to save our planet, or if we will continue with business as usual and drive ourselves into extinction, as we have driven countless millions into extinction before us. Yes, extinction happens naturally, but the human involvement with this planet has created a thousand-fold increase in extinction rates and we are now closing in on assuring our own extinction.

Enbridge has made clear that safety is not its #1 goal. Making money is its #1 goal. Their massive failure in Marshall, MI should be a sign to Minnesota that they cannot be trusted. They failed to act when the alarms sounded, assumed them to be false, allowed a huge failure to continue long after people on the ground had reported it. Then, post failure, they did all they could to cover up damaged areas, only doing a more complete clean-up when ordered to do so after being found to have done an insufficient job. Is this REALLY the company to whom we want to risk the last of Minnesota’s clean waters?

Line 3 proposes to cross the apex between two major North American watersheds, pristine national forest land as well as countless rivers, streams, and wetlands in Minnesota. In short, Line 3 risks contaminating the water for our whole region – the water which makes life in this region possible – with toxic tar sands sludge. Line 3 brings a host of other risks to our public lands including but not limited to: soil erosion and degradation, spread of undesirable species and disease through waterways, and damage to sensitive ecosystems and species. And finally, they continue the practices of giving the worst of our industrial dangers to the most oppressed and disenfranchised among us, our First People, our Indigenous. The US has failed time and again to honor Treaties, the highest law of the land – on a level with the US Constitution. It is high time we factor in the agreements we made to those who allowed us to share their land, usually agreeing only with force from the government which offered them no alternative. It is time we honor the people who showed they have an ability to protect the land, water, trees, wildlife, and plants for millennia. We should look to them for guidance on how to truly protect and manage our environment for sustainability. Our governmental agencies have failed us again and again in this effort. In case you need a refresher, look to the 1970s when we made massive changes to clean up the environment we had largely pillaged due to allowing corporate and monied interests to rape our environment at will.

I am writing to urge you to deny Enbridge its Utility Crossing Licenses, Work in Public Waters Permits, and all other permits currently under review. As the DNR, it is up to you to protect the pristine public lands, waters, and wildlife upon which all life and livelihood in this state depends. I urge you to see that Enbridge would only jeopardize all of that, and make the right decision not to grant them the necessary permits.

We need your strong leadership in your true charge: The mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is to work with citizens to conserve and manage the state’s natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a sustainable quality of life. The citizens have spoken loudly and clearly – 94% of the public comments were in opposition to Line 3 – and we continue to try to voice concerns but the government agencies seem geared to simply push through Line 3 and allow Enbridge whatever they wish. As I read the definition for the DNR Commissioner, it seems we may be in trouble. Per 84.027, “The commissioner shall have charge and control of all the public lands, parks, timber, waters, minerals, and wild animals of the state and of the use, sale, leasing, or other disposition thereof, and of all records pertaining to the performance of the commissioner’s functions relating thereto.” This sounds like the Commissioner is merely in charge of selling off Minnesota’s resources and keeping record of who gets the spoils.

I have imagined that most Minnesotans believe the DNR is responsible to protect the citizens and environment of Minnesota, though many up here in rural Minnesota seems to have a negative opinion of the DNR. Perhaps I have judged them too harshly for their condemnation. Perhaps the DNR has given them much reason for distrust as the directive for the Commissioner does not seem to have any responsibility to the citizens or environment of this state. It seems the directive is to “manage” the use of our resources and, based on what I’ve seen since moving here, it seems the highest bidder gets to decide who wins.

I would hope that the People of the DNR would prevent a multi-national from running roughshod over our state and, in the process, doing further environmental damage to our planet as a whole. The science on Tar Sands is clear – they require almost as much energy to extract as they deliver for use, they are damaging the environment where they are extracted and the environment all along the route to move them to their offshore destinations – including the oceans and air, as well as the lands and waters that are crossed – only to be burned releasing 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude. The answers are clear to me. YOU ARE SCIENTISTS. You must stand with the tens of thousands of Minnesotans opposed to line 3 and STOP LINE 3 NOW. We are all human beings. If we hope to save ourselves, putting our planet first must be a priority.

Your work to Stop Line 3 NOW could save thousands of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted thus far on the Enbridge proposal and instead divert these much-needed funds to creating a green economy, a clean energy future, that might just allow our grandkids the same breathable air and drinkable water we have enjoyed.

Please do the right thing. Do all you can to DENY ALL PERMITS for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3. The future is counting on you.

Water Protectors hoping their voices are heard…