What an amazing time we had at a jam packed event for AICHO -as stated in their event notice:
Dabinoo’Igan is empowering the voices that are often silenced due to Domestic Violence. “One Community, Many Voices, Stop the Silence” is an opportunity for our community to come together for the victims who are silenced. Enjoy musical performances by Erik Koskinen and Band, Anishinaabeg national music award winners Annie Humphrey and Keith Secola along with the Miziiwekaamikiinang Drum Group on April 6, 2023
AICHO is expanding our culturally responsive domestic violence shelter Dabinoo’Igan to help more victims of domestic and sexual violence in our community. …in partnership with the Ordean Foundation. All monies raised will go toward the Dabinoo’Igan Shelter expansion.
In the fiscal year 2021, the Dabinoo’Igan Shelter provided 490 unique individuals with shelter services, accommodated 2,509 bed stays, and answered over 577 crisis calls. During the same year, Dabinoo’Igan had just under 200 requests for services that were unmet due to capacity issues.
Victims of violence should never have to face these barriers when seeking safety and help.
Help us help our community in need. Dabinoo’Igan is Anishinaabemowin for “a place where you are safe, comforted and sheltered”. More about musicians, tickets, fundraiser: : https://www.aicho.org/funddvshelter
Top event sponsors: Ordean Foundation, Krenzen Auto, McKnight Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, Maurices, St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, Essentia Health, Ivy Vainio + Friends, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, National Bank of Commerce, RBC Wealth Management-Duluth, and RSM US LLP. #AICHOFundDVShelter
from the event info
This event was incredible. Terrific organizing. Amazing performances. Annie is always powerful – EVERY time I’ve seen her – and the middle guys were stars with a big booming sound – really rocked it – then Keith came out and blew our minds.🤯 Great to see David Huckfelt.
Ivy and team did a fantastic job. The Ordean guy was terrific. Really could see the coherence in the group. Good to see some friends there to support the fundraiser and we really enjoyed the after party! 😍
More time with friends all the way home, including visiting our babies!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍
So many good friends and family. 💖
Working this week on getting our place organized again for kitten arrival. After swearing I wouldn’t… ever again… 😵💫 Only excuse… Overwhelming cuteness.😻😻 And they say two is easier…🧐
Deep conversations and time in the woods all made for a terrific welcome of spring. 🌱 🌺
So many good friends and family. 💖 My life keeps getting better and better.
We watch our banks… collapsing? Or being made to appear as if they are anyway.
I wonder how much longer… before all the systems ~ every one of which is showing signs of strain… to keep up with growing needs, improve upon services, or even maintain its basic foundations ~ are simply GONE.
We joke about the internet disappearing. Yet, how much is already unavailable… under the thumb that ensures no “misinformation”? (Or… maybe just moved… to a new platform… where one can still speak freely?) But is the day soon? When we simply won’t have these magic computers in our pockets to tell us…
Who to be. Which place has the best doohickey for the least output. How to get where we’re going.
Some joke about humans who cannot get from point A to B without a GPS machine directing them. The latest fad is using paper maps. (Who knew, Mom!?! You’ve always been ahead of the curve.)
So how are we navigating now? Are we still following the signs of a colonized culture, hell bent on using military might to ensure its GDP? Are we still mindlessly seeking the next job, clothes, partner, car, house… that will fulfill us? Are we sensing the fruitlessness, nay cruelty, of the American Way of Life?
Many more each day, by choice or circumstance, are choosing a new way. A holistic, universal, mutual aid network way of engaging with their fellow crew members. A way that is more direct, local, sustainable, and… FUN!!! I am calling it the BEconomy.
This is a place where each of us can BE who we are… doing the work we love ~ be it cooking, researching, fishing, sewing, cleaning, growing, organizing, teaching, entertaining ~ each and every one of us… loving our neighbors as we find our way forward together… in love, for the good of all.
Some may call me a Dreamer. Nevertheless.
This feels like a big new year opening before me… And I feel it just may be… My best yet. 😍
As Dan and I made our way home from Nagaajiwanaang (Fond du Lac Reservation) on New Year’s Eve, I felt wonderful Peace.
It seems I’ve done all I can in the past year to bring good, find solutions, offer my help, and do my best to win*. And it was good to feel that success alongside good friends and collaborators who are so supportive.
Fuck I always think it’s gonna be different And here we are again
Fuck fuck fuck is this frustrating Just like the rest of the world A microcosm of the system writ large Yet just an everyday occurrence
Here’s what you get little lady! That’s how it is. Sorry it’s not to your liking. Carry on!
Don’t bother saying anything about it because you can’t undo what’s been done
This is just how it is. This is just how it always has been. This is just what you get.
Deal with it
On your own
In my head I swirl with possibilities Responses unsaid as they’ve been given before to no avail Ways I could have made it different Fantasies of a future that might have been Reasons its my fault Always reasons its my fault Yet its never my fault It is just the way it is
I could have said something earlier [Like in the past when it didn’t work] I could have said STOP [By the time I did it was too late] I could ask for resolution [I’m far too triggered for that now]
Instead I spiral in the silence
I’m tired of feeling powerless I’m tired of going through this same thing again I’m tired of it not being the way I want it I’m tired of not getting what I want as I watch you get the things you need I’m tired of my perspective not being a concern I’m tired of my feelings being ignored I’m tired of my wishes not even being a part of the plan I’m tired of being invisible Immaterial Irrelevant
I’m mad at myself I don’t want to cry about this Fuck!!!!!!!! I wasn’t going cry about this Not ever again But here I am crying Fucking great
When will I be able to go through this without crying When will I be able to not be affected by this When will I be able to simply laugh at the absurd consistencies of this life Let alone the horrific inconsistencies
Why is it ok Why do we let it happen And when it happens why do we ignore it Why don’t we even talk about it We just go on as of nothing has happened As if no harms were incurred As if this is an event that didn’t ever exist
Because if it did And someone was hurt Shouldn’t we talk about it Wouldn’t that at least let me know someone cares Someone else sees that it’s not how things should be Someone else sees that we need a change Someone else wants to help Someone else doesn’t ever want me to hurt like this again
It’s not just me
When a little girl is raped do we think it more horrible than rape of an older woman Why are we so horrified for the little girl Why are we often dismissive of the woman
Or worse yet blame her for her fate
Do we sometimes blame the little girl She shouldn’t have been so pretty Such a distraction an attraction She should have said NO One more time Then maybe She could Hold on To her Chastity and her dignity her self
When will we get a voice When will things be done aligned to common goals When will power heed the voices of innocence
When might we be able to say No And be heard And heeded For good
When might I not feel like I’m so tired of this that an end might be better When might I be able to simply not feel all the history of my past In these times when I am again
Mother Earth alone comforts my pain She and I together Will continue Our paths Similar Sad
Until all awaken Until we are legion
The source of this poem is so sadly everyday. Yet it helps me better understand the ways I carry pain, how my past is so often jumping into my present, and how easily doubts can derail. Simply writing and reading this work to a friend has opened me to freedom from some of the trauma. I am hopeful it helps you similarly.
Here are some of the things I’m learning in recent weeks.
I attribute these things to my years studying the Tao (with a bunch of wonderful folks, mostly my Alex friends yet others along the Path as well) and also to the many books I’ve enjoyed over the years, of which, a new one (to me) has been especially helpful – The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz. [I liked this gal’s summary highlighting the lessons in this work.]
BTW, BIG SHOUTOUT to Amy McCoy who simply gave me this book after I asked her about it on her bookshelf. She is an amazing human being.
In The Mastery of Love, don Miguel Ruiz illuminates the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that undermine love and lead to suffering and drama in our relationships. Using insightful stories to bring his message to life, Ruiz shows us how to heal our emotional wounds, recover the freedom and joy that are our birthright, and restore the spirit of playfulness that is vital to loving relationships.
The Mastery of Love includes:
• Why “domestication” and the “image of perfection” lead to self-rejection • The war of control that slowly destroys most relationships • Why we hunt for love in others, and how to capture the love inside us • How to finally accept and forgive ourselves and others
“Happiness can only come from inside of you and is the result of your love. When you are aware that no one else can make you happy, and that happiness is the result of your love, this becomes the greatest mastery of the Toltec: the Mastery of Love.” — don Miguel Ruiz
From the Publisher
I’ve also enjoyed some insightful blogs that resonated this past week.
And here are some of my own ramblings on things…
There is plenty of injustice in the world. I’m hopeful we can start loving ourselves to the truth… that we’re all horrible and wonderful beings. It seems to me that we all deserve grace and compassion. We can offer those to our kin, even while honoring others who have gone ahead, regardless of how they went.
Fear and division bring suffering.
No blame is necessary. Nor praise for that matter, I’m finding.
Love serves us best in this life.
I’m working to learn all these lessons myself.
Response given on my Send Leonard Peltier at Card FB post …to one not sure of my mission.
I would recommend taking what any government is currently saying with a few grains of salt.
I’d note that our own US Govt has yet to figure out an end to poverty… while many serving in the US government are millionaires these days.
And look how GREAT it’s working for them. Our “leaders” have health care provided for them, while Americans in general, do not. The politicians fly about on the taxpayer dime, while many Americans can no longer afford to get to work each week with the price of fuel for our cars… as the managers continue to provide little in the way of public transport.
Consider the goals of the government narratives – endless wars and destruction, extraction that steals the future from our children, instead of talking and working to find commonly agreeable solutions.
And consider the history as well. The US has been moving for decades with this Us v. Them narrative… that divides and distracts… while the powerful and rich continue to thrive… and everyday Americans get the choice of heading to war for the machine… or living on the scraps paid by the Corps(e).
A thought shared in response to commentary on war.
This too awakens.
“Your sense of alienation is entirely valid and based in truth. … Truth is beckoning us all forward and these mind-cages they have built for us aren’t real enough to hold us in for much longer.”
Consider cutting through the dream… and embracing truth and beauty… and then bringing the world we know can be?
“My sources are more scientific than your sources” seems where America lives these days.
And the truth is becoming harder to find every day. As the scripted MSM focuses us where they want us to look… and think tanks explain it all to us.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
… and we find ourselves unfriending long-term associates after too many frustrated communications. 😶 Perhaps we can no longer Agree to Disagree?
Can’t argue though… with the HUGE AMOUNT of excess deaths we’ve seen since Covid was released upon us. About a quarter of our dead each day are attributed to Covid it seems, so there’s SOMETHING that we might want to address, eh?
Here’s the latest (and pretty scary) link from Dr. Pierre Kory – of Deleted SenateSubcommittee Hearing fame. He and his group of Frontline Doctors – those responsible for ERs in major metro areas links during Covid days – have struggled to secure almost any public debate on facts with state authorities (and by state I mean both state and federal). Yet these Physicians – trying from the beginning to tell us what was happening – have been largely censored from easily accessible public domains… accused of providing “disinformation”.
What claim of “disinformation” can be credible without providing the details discrediting said information? Especially when this proposed “disinformation’ is notably dissenting from the mainstream narrative? Especially when the approved national narrative is based on deviating from established norms and protocols of scientific review? Even Fauci’s failed AZT vaccine for Aids was pulled after a few dozen deaths. But not these Covid vaccines, for which they continue to eschew any review for adverse events, no matter how numerous. [See above review on Pfizer’s pregnancy safety data – just released.] What reason can the Feds give for removing the video of Kory’s Senate hearing – a public forum? Unless it’s about controlling the narrative to promote a (designed) Vaccines Only Solution?
Throughout the Covid-19 debacle, I’ve based my information on discernment from a variety of credible sources (Dr. Hong, Dr. Martenson [still so true 2 years later…], Dr. Campbell, among others) I’ve been watching for a couple years now, and correlating that information to the data in the landscape. I’ve read sooo many medical papers, analyzed so much genetic information, and listened to hours upon hours of medical explanations while perusing thousands of data records in my attempts to understand our situation.
I’ve watched as my sources have been confirmed and wondered often at the censored response to successful campaigns. And, perhaps most telling of all: No mention by CDC of Vitamin D as a critical element for our immune systems, something for years the powers that be encouraged with a Does a Body Good campaign? [Yeah, that wasn’t based on science either, eh? Just sales. And, Jesus, do we have to sexualize fkn everything? FFS. I wonder how much theseoldcommercials drove my development.]
There remain so many unanswered questions.
How can one demonize a group of Frontline physicians (who have saved thousands of lives throughout Covid) as we concurrently watch the CDC continue to change paths, making little to no progress but lots of profits for Big Pharma, in the absurdity they call their National Covid Response?
How are humans so convinced of vaccine safety and efficacy as we watch continuous Covid infections (what the fuck is the definition of a vaccine if not to prevent spread of the disease you’ve supposedly been inoculated for???), and why on earth would you expose a developing child to this formula, without knowing the long-term implications? Especially as children have been so minimally impacted by Covid-19 with regard to hospitalizations and death?
I guess it’s the same crowd who has been convinced to work the best hours and days of their life, sacrificing their children’s plays, games, and TIME – their children’s literal milestones – to give themselves to The Man… for some ready cash. These who are largely unaware of the wage slavery to which they are beholden. Who trust their government enough to inject their children with a concoction that may very well be increasing rates of infertility and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women (thus, doing God knows what to our developing generations… our grandchildren… our grand nieces and nephews).
Meanwhile…. air pollution…. kills 7M each year… and we’re hearing fuck all on that (let alone doing anything about it).
We’ve had three known nuclear meltdowns at power plants… so can we now admit humans might not be as smart as we try to storytell we are… in this concocted reality we call life?
We only know what we know because of those who have been willing to sacrifice themselves to their causes. Watch Meltdown: Three Mile Island and then think about your pandemic response teams?
I also found this interesting item this week… Tulsi on a Bill for Snowden & Assange.
Here’s to the Whistle Blowers.
The real truth tellers. Risking all to keep us informed. I’d say we owe them a listen.
I was talking with a friend whose album is about to drop and he’s concerned my copy hasn’t arrived yet. Told him, “…gotta remember we live in the MN hinterlands with the rocks and cows. 🤣😉💖 I’m not worried. It’ll be here when i need it. The universe keeps showing me this… every day. It’s timing is more perfect than i can sometimes understand… so I get mad. But… it’s usually perfect… in hindsight.”
…and that’s what I felt drawn to blog about this weekend. So… here goes!
Another friend’s comments recently brought more clarity to me on this idea of “there is no bad”. I was recalling the fire I built [ingii-boodawe (I believe) is ‘I built a fire’ Ojibwemong] last week, first one I’d done in a long while.
It wasn’t an easy fire and this may have been from the temperature differential though I wonder more if it wasnt simply a gift from ishkode/fire.
I got everything set up as I’d done in the past and it looked good… for a minute. The fire was drawing into the j-tube. Yet the smoke also kept drawing into the house. Not a ton, but enough to have me think it might be excessive. It wasn’t like there was no draw… just not enough to keep all the smoke pulling through the j-tube into the barrel and out the chimney. So I worked and talked and moved misan (pieces of firewood) and then finally, after a few minutes, she got her draw!
I decided I needed to open the windows and I pulled the fan (that usually blows warm air from the stove to the rest of the house) and put it facing out the kitchen window, which I’d cracked, along with the window on the storm door.
As I told the story to my friend she noted it was as if the stove had ‘smudged’ the house for me and I was able to sweep out all the old energy! This new perspective doesn’t change the struggle I felt in the moment, though it gives a much happier memory of the event overall. So… there is no bad?
There’s something to removal of old spirits… old ideas… and clearing the way for new information.
We’ve spent much time over the last decade hearing Enbridge claims Line 3 Replacement project was “good for Minnesota” but we see how that just hasn’t been true.
Not only did Enbridge spend the last decade lying about their expected impacts to our land, they worked on reimbursing themselves for back taxes… and lowering the taxes they’ll pay going forward… as their industry dies. And citizen monitors are adding their voices to the outcry of what we’re discovering in the land.
While the re-route does nothing to Answer to the request of Bad River Band for Enbridge to remove its pipeline from their watershed, it could destroy the Wisconsin water quality, as we’ve watched them do here in Minnesota.
Evidence is coming to light, as can be seen in this latest video, of the horrors Minnesota still faces… as Enbridge continues to flow far and through their new Line 93 pipeline- supposed replacement for Line 3… while old Line 3 remains in the ground, rotting away, and their construction messes remain unremediated and secret from the public. I been asking MPCA this past week about when we might get the report back on their Frac-out Investigations… per Minnesota Reformer, it was expected last fall… over 6 months ago. 😲
Here’s commentary submitted Friday to the WDNR asking for a denial of the project by Waadookawaad Amikwag -Those who Help Beaver – a group of tribal members and citizen monitors engaging to detect concerns and insist on their remediation along Enbridge’s Line 93 corridor.
Share it? Help inform Minnesotans and our neighbors in Wisconsin of the concerns Enbridge’s construction practices, as well as their apparent cover-ups, fabrications, and dismissals of public water quality concerns.
Dear Wisconsin DNR,
We are writing today to encourage you to deny Canadian Corporation Enbridge’s Line 5 Re-Route project through the Bad River watershed.
Guiding Principles and Background
It is unclear how you might justify approval of a new fossil fuel project, as the UN Secretary General António Guterres has recently made clear that the IPCC report states we must do more, and by that, he especially stresses doing LESS with fossil fuel development. Over and again he speaks of the failure to reduce fossil fuel usage as leaders provided false promises that lacked associated action. He insists leaders must no longer lie or delay, stressing fast change is necessary if we hope to save a future for our children and that change must focus on protecting our natural world.
To protect and enhance our natural resources: our air, land and water; our wildlife, fish and forests and the ecosystems that sustain all life. To provide a healthy, sustainable environment and a full range of outdoor opportunities. To ensure the right of all people to use and enjoy these resources in their work and leisure. To work with people to understand each other’s views and to carry out the public will. And in this partnership consider the future and generations to follow.
The mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is to work with Minnesotans 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.
Minnesota decided to permit Enbridge’s Line 3 re-route, much to the current misery of those of us along the Line 93 (Line 3 Replacement pipeline; henceforth “Line 93”) corridor who now live with many negative impacts to our region. In the aftermath of the Line 93 construction, we see a path of devastation across our state, cutting directly through Indian Country and affecting all the inhabitants of this land; swimmers, crawlers, flyers, plant nation – including Manoomin and all medicines, four-leggeds, as well as the two-leggeds.
Learning From Other Pipeline Projects, including Line 93
This Downstream Strategies report (hereafter DS report) examined real-world experiences with four pipeline projects: Mountain Valley Pipeline and WB Xpress Pipeline in West Virginia and Virginia, the Rover Pipeline in West Virginia and Ohio, and the Mariner East II Pipeline in Pennsylvania. While these pipelines had individualized and shared concerns and failures, most were around sediment control and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) – both factors which would be of concern in the Bad River watershed and which were factors here in Minnesota.
The most significant water quality problems faced along both the WB Xpress and Mountain Valley pipelines have included inputs of sediment-laden water to streams. Most of the routes for these two pipelines cross mountainous terrain characterized by steep slopes, headwaters streams, and highly erodible soils. Reasons for failure of erosion and sedimentation controls that led to sedimentation in waterways were notably improper installation and lack of maintenance of the structures.
Mariner East II and Rover Pipelines both experienced significant water quality issues related to spilled drilling fluid during horizontal directional drilling, which contaminated streams and wetlands. Additionally, failure of erosion and sediment controls due to improper installation or insufficient maintenance, as well as a lack of approved erosion and sediment control best management practices, were major sources of violations for both pipelines.
This report also offers recommendations for improving regulation and oversight, best management practice design and implementation, and construction techniques for large-scale pipeline projects. These recommendations are based on observations of what went wrong during construction of the four pipelines, and techniques and requirements that are working to minimize water quality impacts. Notable recommendations include requiring site-specific stormwater plans for all stream and wetland crossings, encouraging companies to complete construction projects in shorter sections, and increasing regulatory inspections at the expense of the pipeline companies.”
Indeed, as citizen monitors, two of whom are abutters to the Line 93 corridor, one just north of where the pipeline crosses under Mississippi River at her headwaters along Great River Road (Clearwater County 40) and another who lives at the Line 93 crossing of Mississippi River also along Great River Road (Aitkin County 10), we’ve witnessed first-hand not only the failures of planned implementations for environmental controls and refusals to adhere to permitted requirements during construction, but also the damage resulting from the rush of construction as Canadian Corporation Enbridge installed this pipeline in a very short 10-month window, as opposed to the 2 years of construction proposed during the application process.
This DS report discusses the processes by which pipeline construction can impact the environment, but more importantly, it focuses on the areas where states learned hard lessons, and it provides important researched recommendations to states facing permit decisions for pipeline projects.
The DS report notes that use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on pipeline projects can be hindered by local regulations as well as these factors (page 5), all of which we witnessed during Enbridge’s Line 93 construction:
the correct BMPs were planned, but were not installed correctly or at all;
inappropriate BMPs were installed, or BMPs were inadequate for the conditions; or
BMPs were improperly operated and maintained.
An overview is provided for each of the four studied pipelines including photo-filled case study summaries, as well as an overview of the important role Citizen Monitoring can have in identifying impacts before, during, and after construction (page 11).
Lesson 1: Construction has permanent and severe impacts to the environment, despite Enbridge’s claims to the contrary. Unfortunately the BMPs do not adequately address the need to protect groundwater. For example,wherever shallow groundwater is within 30 feet of the surface, deep trenching, HDD and the use of sheet pile to stabilize trenches can lead to pollution of groundwater by frac-outs and disruption of aquifers by breaches. In Minnesota, Enbridge caused at least 28 frac-outs (we have evidence that there are more that weren’t reported) and 3 major aquifer breaches (again, we have evidence of far more).
These projects require sufficient pre-design and pre-construction investigation and necessitate groundwater specific BMPs and reporting/notification requirements for the applicant.
Based on our experience in Minnesota we strongly recommend the following:
The volumes of drilling mud used, recovered, or lost shall be reported by the applicant for each HDD crossing.
Areas with shallow artesian aquifers within 65 feet of the surface should have geotechnical borings at a spacing of no less than 500 feet that penetrate ten feet deeper than any proposed excavation, HDD, or sheet pile installation.
At HDD locations suffering inadvertent mud loss and frac-outs, monitor wells shall be installed upgradient and downgradient of the pipeline easement. The water quality shall be analyzed for the components of drilling mud including soda ash, bentonite, and any other additives used for the HDD.
As we believe the hope of WDNR would be to implement restrictions and conditions to prevent damage to the environment if there is a decision to permit, we believe adhering to these recommendations can potentially help Wisconsin avoid some of the devastating experiences Minnesota had in our recent interactions with Enbridge. Three breached aquifers and many frac-outs still suspect in our waters is what we citizens are left to monitor. We are hopeful that we leave you forewarned, and thus, forearmed.
The closing Recommendations section in the DS report can help inform Wisconsin DNR on some of the construction problems, alongside some potential solutions (page 27). Adhering to these recommended guidelines can help prevent Wisconsin seeing a re-iteration of the Minnesota experience on the Line 93 build.
Lesson 2: Partner with citizens to understand potential impacts and to monitor projects. We encourage you to resist Enbridge’s assumptions and insinuations that citizens should be treated as your enemy.
Along the Line 93 construction project here in Minnesota, citizen monitors were often the first ones aware of violations to the permit, with agencies being dependent on these citizen reports to discover infractions not readily communicated during construction by Enbridge.
Citizen monitors can reveal in-field concerns, and can play an important role in discovering areas that might not have been considered or foreseen by agencies and/or applicants. Having more intimate, longstanding, and direct contact with the land, especially throughout the seasons, local monitors can understand changes more readily than those unfamiliar with this landscape. They can also be key in reporting violations, as evidenced in Minnesota for the Line 93 project.
The Willow River frac-out was a key example as seen in this posting that includes video detail of a violation discovered just after the July 4th holiday in 2021. Citizen monitors, arriving on scene prior to the arrival of any Enbridge workers, witnessed a frac-out of warm drilling mud into Willow River. A spill kit was evident at river’s edge, yet there was no Enbridge response team present. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency records revealed they were not informed until late that day of the incident. DNR Officers were soon on-site and threatening to arrest people, notably before the frac-out had been reported to the MPCA, including as citizen monitors were attempting to secure water samples. Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida reported he was aware of the frac-out and noted to the monitors, “Enbridge is taking care of it”, again prior to the incident being reported to MPCA. No water samples were taken, except those taken by the citizen monitors. During the day of monitoring, DNR Conservation Officers continued surveilling and arresting people as the frac-out occurred, seeming to ignore the environmental concern. In reporting that followed, the message of law enforcement looked to silence and/or disparage the citizen monitors, again adhering to the Enbridge narrative about those in opposition to their project, while no mention was made of law enforcement’s prior awareness of the spill in the press coverage.
Citizen monitoring includes the full scope of reporting from pre-construction challenges through post-construction monitoring.
Lesson 3: Acknowledge that some areas are fundamentally unsuitable for pipeline construction. Enbridge and its consultants will systematically downplay environmental risk.
This was clear in Enbridge’s initial documentation, which downplayed HDD risks associated with their first Mississippi River crossing:
Based on testimony from reitred MDNR pipeline specialist Paul Stolen on 11/19/2014 and for years thereafter, it was clear that the LaSalle Valley along the proposed Line 93 route was a place that should have been considered unsuitable for this type of project. His testimony was based on publicly available geology of the area and geotechnical investigations performed by pipeline companies, as well as his own experience with pipeline construction, including in this location. Other independent geologists reviewed and confirmed Mr. Stolen’s interpretations. Nevertheless, Enbridge’s consultant Barr Engineering asserted and testified that “none of the data collected suggests that a pipeline will adversely affect hydrologic conditions during and after construction.” Hindsight unfortunately vindicates Mr. Stolen’s testimony and shows Enbridge and Barr to have been terribly wrong: Line 3 Replacement Project LaSalle Creek Corrective Action Plan.
We must remember: Enbridge’s justification for the Line 93 project was to “replace” a deteriorating pipeline the Canadian corporation had been neglecting for decades.
Enbridge’s reasoning was based on falsehoods, and their own misinterpretation of a federal consent decree, as they successfully used the example of their own ill-maintained Line 3 to justify a new pipeline project, creating a new corridor as their leases on Reservation land were expiring.
One might more appropriately view the deterioration of Enbridge’s Line 3 as a sign of things to come with their “replacement” pipelines.
The following from the Line 93 project timeline and post-construction review might assist your decision-making:
Lesson 4: Plan for comprehensive permit oversight and enforcement. Permit oversight and enforcement are key and we include several ideas from the DS report.
Ensure “independence” of independent environmental monitors.
Based on our experience with Enbridge on the Line 93 project, 17 of their 40 “independent” environmental monitors were previous Enbridge contractors or employees. Previous employment for an applicant should disqualify a monitor as “independent” and it may provide insight as to why several violations witnessed in Minnesota were not reported in a timely or transparent manner. Key to inspections are that they are: frequent, sufficient, and performed by trained, independent inspectors.
Site-specific stormwater management plans.
We are unaware of any on-site independent management personnel or monitoring equipment employed during Line 93 construction.
Full evaluation of trenchless stream crossings.
While our experience agrees that HDD may be the least destructive way to cross streams, it is not a panacea. Here in Minnesota, Enbridge’s licensed professional engineer signed a report stating the low-risk of HDD, even as the pre-construction borings indicated an assurance that frac-outs would occur, and, in fact, might be common. [Feasibility Assessment by J.D.Hair & Associates, Inc. (pg 606): “Although there is a possibility that cobbles and boulders or pressurized groundwater conditions could be encountered, it is our opinion that experienced HDD contractors will be able to successfully install the crossing.” See pages 601-616. We would respectfully question their definition of what constitutes a ‘successful’ installation.] Additional geotechnical borings in areas where HDD and/or sheet piling will be used can reduce the uncertainties that might be revealed with construction, as we found here in the Mississippi Headwaters.
Designated stormwater manager.
While company stormwater managers can be influenced by profits and timelines, state designated overseers can have a narrow role of environmental impact monitoring to the permit expectations. As mentioned above, the independence of monitors on the Line 93 project was insufficient to assure ready reporting of concerning impacts.
Improved communications strategy.
Requiring applicants to provide all air photo, drone images and remote sensing data employed before, during and after construction, within five working days of acquiring the data, can allow for timely reactions to concerns. Real-time web updates on all work sites can also give quicker insight to indicator data.
Online mapping tools.
Several mapping tools were used by citizen monitors to document the concerns along Enbridge’s Line 93 route. Mapping the Black Snake was a tool used early on that showed concerns from Alberta to the protest of construction and Watch The Line MN had a project map that included hundreds of recordings of before and during construction details in hopes to assure a return of the landscape post-construction to promised conditions.
Real-time water quality monitoring stations.
The closest we had were citizen monitors… though we support the DS report recommendation for these tools to help assure adherence to permitted agreements.
Increased fines and permit fees.
Again, Minnesota has Line 93 experience with this recommendation as well with MDNR filing a $3.32M mitigation and penalty funds, though the $20,000 maximum administrative fine was likely irrelevant to a company the size of Enbridge. Minnesota is currently considering legislation to increase these fines to $20,000 per day of violation. That would have taken Enbridge from a $20,000 fine to one of $7,240,000, factoring in the Clearbrook breach which flowed from 1/21/2021 through 1/18/2022.
Perhaps one of the most oft-heard questions citizens posed post-realization of the Clearbrook aquifer breach was why this violation did not stop construction for the project as a whole, when it was clear that Enbridge had not transparently reported the ongoing environmental damages. MDNR claimed a lack of authority. Stop-work order agreements in permits could have prevented this lack of authority over our own landscape as a Canadian corporation prioritized completion of its pipeline construction above remediation of the bleeding aquifer.
Lesson 5: Require more modern BMPs than Enbridge proposes When it comes to BMPs, the DS report offers several considerations that should be adopted.
Proper BMP selection for large drainage areas and across ridgetops and headwaters watersheds.
BMPs must be properly selected and sized based on the drainage area. A set of practices with specifications that address large drainage areas should be followed. Construction across ridgetops and headwaters watersheds poses a challenge to stormwater control. Extra attention to drainage area calculations during the design phase and utilization of ESCs specially designed for these sensitive environments can help protect water quality in these areas. These practices can include, for example, diversion ditches or dikes on the uphill side of a construction area that transport water away from the right-of-way and help prevent controls from being overwhelmed.
Access road BMPs.
Controls to adequately handle flow associated with access roads must not be overlooked. This report documented instances where BMPs directed flow off the right-of-way and onto access roads, causing significant erosion and sedimentation of waterways. Like the pipeline corridor itself, access roads can channel runoff and sediment, often directly into streams and waterbodies, if ESC practices are not in place for the road surface and associated ditches and conveyances. Large pipeline projects typically have many miles of access roads.
Vegetative stabilization specifications.
Specifications regarding vegetative stabilization in challenging conditions, such as steep slopes or shade, should be developed and followed during construction. Erosion resulting from vegetation that did not grow was observed on the MVP.
State-certified professional geologist.
A state-certified professional geologist should be on site to monitor HDD activities and to help guide responses should an IR occur.
Sufficient company staff to properly oversee and quickly respond to BMP failures.
When company staff are spread across an extremely large construction site, as is the case with many of these long pipelines, it can be difficult to mobilize and correct BMP failures before waterways are impacted. When staff are responsible for managing and monitoring very large areas, it can also take time to notice failures. Additionally, management structures often require that managers who are not on site make decisions necessary to quickly remedy failing BMPs or to adjust construction plans based on on-site conditions. Improving this management structure to allow for quick adjustments at a construction site would help prevent impacts due to failing BMPs or when the conditions on the ground necessitate additional controls than are described in plans.
Sufficient time on design and planning.
Perimeter controls, such as silt fences and filter socks, can act as channels when not utilized correctly. To remedy this, more time should be spent in the design and planning phase. The drainage area must be properly calculated. Additional ESCs—such as Jhooks, diversions, and outlet sediment traps—can be used to accommodate large drainage areas.
Use of short pipeline sections.
Large-scale pipelines should be built to completion in short sections, thereby limiting the total area disturbed at any one time. The pipeline projects described here utilized a construction method that left very long stretches of the pipeline route with active construction areas. For example, trees were cleared along most of the routes, then the trenches were dug along most of the routes. ESCs were installed as work progressed, but very large areas were denuded at one time. Typical construction projects must stabilize open areas before moving to new areas; this same strategy should be applied to pipeline projects. This would allow attention to be given to a smaller disturbed area during intense storm events by staff and ensure controls are properly constructed and maintained. The extremely large construction sites also pose a challenge for regulatory agency inspectors.
Lesson 6: Require geotechnical investigations and robust pre-impact monitoring before you have to make decisions about permit conditions or permit approval. In Minnesota the agencies did not require robust monitoring before construction started, so now they have no way to quantify the extent of environmental damage nor the permanence or impermanence of impacts. We implore you to treat each wetland and each stream as a valuable and unique system that deserves particular attention and understanding. “General permits” and blanket statements about hydrologic conditions are not appropriate for a project of this scale.
Lesson 7: Look for ways to build trust, not destroy trust. The trust between the public and its government is a valuable resource, and should be cared for as such.
Co-opting the process of environmental management, Enbridge spent nearly $8M to buy Minnesota law enforcement force to silence those in opposition along their project route, including over $2M in compensation to MN DNR Conservation Officers. As DNR Officers were tailing citizens who, in their own hopes of assuring compliance with the permitted parameters, were monitoring the construction corridor, DNR Officers missed environmental damages Enbridge was covering up; failures that included horizontal directional drilling frac-outs and breaching of artesian aquifers. We recommend your resources be used to uphold permit conditions rather than as enforcers to help Enbridge stymy public opposition.
We, the members of Waadookawaad Amikwag – Those Who Help Beaver – a group of tribal members and citizen scientists working to monitor Enbridge’s Line 93 corridor post-construction, offer these above ideas for your consideration.
Our hope is to save you from the same Enbridge experience we faced, and continue to remediate, here in Minnesota. It didn’t have to be this way.
November is usually a time for cards of Thanks though not as many went out this year as I hoped as there are SO MANY for whom I am thankful this year. Good friends, comrades in the work to protect Mother Earth (nimaamaa aki), and so many beings around us that bring joy and beauty to our everyday.
Though my favorites are the Chickadees (gijigijigaaneshiinhyag) who will land in one’s hand to grab a sunflower seed – always a thrill.
The snow (goon) has been present for a while now, and we got another 13″+ the first weekend of December.
It’s that time of year when all I want to do is curl up with a book and read. And we are reading… Unstuck in Time by Gregory Sumner. [Find a subject you feel deeply about and you want others to know about and write about it. Great Idea, Greg!] Another Hoosier out there doing great stuff, Greg’s book walks us through all Kurt’s works chronologically as he gives us great insight to the writer, with whom we have found great resonance. [The book is not connected to the movie Unstuck in Time, though I’m excited to see what that reveals as well.]
I will say I’m LOVING this book and how it helps me better understand Kurt and his books, including how they connect to his personal life and the current events and previous events of US and World History. There is much to learn from this child soldier turned anthropology student turned writer. Really looking forward to reading Breakfast of Champions next… unless we decide to read all his works in order… a big challenge, though one I’m considering. Perhaps when I read the next chapter, that will be the book I want to read next. Hocus Pocus is coming up… and Bluebeard too.
Together Dan & I are reading Howard Zinn’s Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian. It’s really encouraging and enlightening, though very real… and thus sad at how much remains the same as did when he wrote this in 1993 book. This is perhaps one of the best things I’ve ever read:
Hoping you all have a lovely end to 2021 and here’s to our 2022 being a time for reconciliation, compassion, and finding our way forward in a way that allows our children to also have a chance at living their lives… as we older folks have been allowed. [I fear us oldsters give far too little consideration of how we can do this… as things continue to look troublesome near term… not to mention the horrors that appear on the horizon.]
And for those reading all the words… I’m learning Ojibwe (Ojibwemowin)! [Yes, I am REALLY EXCITED about it.] I’m finding it intriguing, fun, and edifying. Get in touch if you want to practice speaking!