When we moved to northern Minnesota back in 2016 we were pretty surprised to see so much animosity towards the Minnesota DNR. We’d moved to Minnesota for the abundant water and large trees we found in Clearwater County. We figured the hunting and fishing crowd would be real excited about what the DNR typically does – making trails into forests for ATVs, managing woodlands and wetlands (so we thought) for the citizenry, and generally assuring their Mission:
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.“
After 7 years of work in trying to protect the clean waters within our landscape, we’ve watched the DNR work more towards destruction than anything. They’ve been helped along by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency but we’re focused on the DNR for today’s Emergency Blog.
Perhaps taking a look at the DNR’s explanation of their mission statement will give some clues…
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works to integrate and sustain the interdependent values of a healthy environment, a sustainable economy, and livable communities. DNR’s integrated resource management strategy shares stewardship responsibility with Minnesotans and partners to manage for multiple interests. DNR protects the state’s natural heritage by conserving the diversity of natural lands, waters, and fish and wildlife that provide the foundation for Minnesota’s recreational and natural resource-based economy (M.S. 84, M.S. 97A). DNR manages natural lands such as forests, wetlands, and native prairies; maintains healthy populations of fish and wildlife; and protects rare plant and animal communities throughout the state. DNR manages the state’s water resources, sustaining healthy waterways and ground water resources. DNR provides access to enrich public outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, wildlife-watching, camping, skiing, hiking, biking, motorized recreation, and conservation education through a state outdoor recreation system that includes parks, trails, wildlife management areas, scientific and natural areas, water trails, and other facilities (M.S. 86A). DNR supports natural resource-based economies, managing state forest lands for multiple forest values (M.S. 89), ensuring the maximum long-term economic return from school trust lands (M.S. 127A), and providing other economic opportunities in a manner consistent with sound natural resource conservation and management principles.”
So, it looks from here like MDNR is “managing” our natural resources for their “economic” value with their… “partners“. Yeah.
I once sat at lunch with Commissioner Strommen and asked her why it seemed the statutes for MDNR seemed mainly about overseeing the sales of natural resources and documenting to whom they sold them. She asked if I’d read the whole statute… but couldn’t tell me more about why they aren’t just about that. So I asked for her proudest achievement as Commissioner of the DNR. Now… granted, this was December 3, 2019… so maybe she hadn’t been in the job long enough to find a better one… still, her answer was pretty disappointing. She mentioned being super excited for a DNR public town hall that was REALLY well attended! I was nonplussed.
Today, we found another opportunity for a public gathering with the MN DNR and I’m betting she wasn’t NEARLY as excited about it. Let’s find out what happened!
The meeting was scheduled for 2 PM – ironically, at the same time many Environmental Groups opposed to Line 3 were ALSO meeting. Hmmm… No coincidence there? Divide and Conquer – that is the way of Empire.
Gail Nosek, Communications Director for the MN DNR encouraged attendance with her re-tweet of the event:
So… I had to ask – afterwards:
Turns out, THIS was more the result of their “Office Hours” meeting:
What questions DID they hear? It seems the DNR was excited to tweet about that too! Though, as noted by the Minnesota Department of Snark, those didn’t include mine…
So, what was my question? I’m glad you asked!!! …though the MN DNR didn’t quite answer it.
My question is in regards understanding how the Minnesota DNR as land manager will adequately address climate change in Minnesota, especially as Commissioner Strommen mentioned the power of trees, and others spoke of water mgmt, both of which factor into my question.
In addition to other concerns in my past experience with MDNR, my recent reading of the Restoration and Replacement Order issued to Enbridge on their Line 3 project, troubled me as the DNR, following not just one or two but at LEAST SEVEN reports from the Independent Environmental Monitors, did nothing to intervene with expertise.
The February 2, 2021 report noted: “Due to excessive groundwater infiltration the site was backfilled and sheet piling was initiated. Despite backfill, groundwater has flowed to the surface.”
I’d ask WHY at that time NO ONE with MORE EXPERIENCE from the DNR came to review the situation. What did the Monitors think of this unrelenting groundwater flow? Why was this not seen as a situation that might require more expertise than theirs?
On February 20th, a Saturday, even the Environmental Resources Management group’s Technical Director “agreed that the turbidity was unusual for a well point dewatering”…
Mid-March (on the 13th, 15th, & 16th) provided several reports in close succession regarding fine clay sediments and included in the final report a notice that “Enbridge issued [itself] an unacceptable report for improper dewatering structure” yet there was STILL NO MENTION from Enbridge OF A DIVERSION FROM THEIR CONSTRUCTION PERMIT, which might have assisted in far earlier resolution than a full three months later, when on June 15th, the IEMs happened to be asked by DNR staff about the “uncontrolled flow at the Clearbrook Terminal” of which (reportedly) “DNR staff were not previously aware”.
How were the DNR staff unaware when there were at least 7 reports regarding this situation in Q1? This mid-June report also notes: “Though the condition generated an Enbridge-issued “unacceptable” report in March, Enbridge did not bring the issue to DNR’s attention at that point either.” Does Enbridge have to ASK THE DNR to READ THEIR REPORTS? Is ANYONE AT DNR Reading the reports? Or are you all just trusting Enbridge to do what is right and “let you know” when you might need to hold them accountable?
Mr. Doneen took action the next day demanding more information, and, the following day, informed Enbridge to stop construction at this location. Why not STOP CONSTRUCTION for ALL ENBRIDGE WORK finding such an egregious error that had gone WITHOUT RESOLUTION by ENBRIDGE for almost 6 months!?!?
A full month later, flow continued and, though a 7/7/21 email from Merjent, Enbridge’s consultant, noted Enbridge was not monitoring flow or volume since March 18th, AND the bore pit was found in excess of that allowed in DNR’s constructon permit, AND on July 8th it was reported that a SECOND emergence of UNCONTROLLED FLOW “likely a direct result of the initial breach of the aquifer confining layer”, NO FULL STOPPAGE OF PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION OCCURRED! HOW can the citizens of Minnesota TRUST that the DNR will do ANYTHING PROACTIVE to assist in Climate Change when this is how poorly they oversee a project which is known to bring an incredible amount of exacerbation to the climate chaos we are already experiencing?
Jami Gaither question during the DNR’s 9/23/21 Office Hour
You decide for yourselves. But they also didn’t answer these other questions, also in the chat…
I am not feeling you have understood my concern… that DNR is not ON SITE in a major way during construction of such a large project that impacts climate implies a “let corporations do as they will” mentality. How can we trust your stance is NOT for major corporations as the Legislature may not allow you to be more proactive?
Will Enbridge be allowed to have tar sands flow through their new pipeline BEFORE the aquifer situation is remedied?
At what point WOULD DNR pull a permit? If the company WILLFULLY VIOLATED their Construction Permit – and it remains able to build their project, that seems to indicate the Permit you issued has NO VALUE.
I’m finding the power of MSM to take people to a place where, instead of ingesting information for themselves and deciphering truth from it, people are emboldened to simply dismiss, without consideration, the input from those MSM has othered as “anti-vax” or “disinformation” mongers.
Instead of asking questions, ppl stand firmly in their silos of “TRUTH” which prop up the given narrative of the CDC, FDA, Biden Administration, Dr. Fauci… all of whom have been proven, time and again, to be ruthlessly ignoring facts, and worse, creating harm, rather than preventing it.
This is true whether the topic is the pandemic, Afghanistan, or climate change.
Here are the questions I continue to have about the ‘management’ of the pandemic in ‘Murica:
WHY are there no TREATMENTS for C0VlD-19 from the CDC? [When many are finding – AROUND THE GLOBE – that there ARE safe, effective, INEXPENSIVE treatments? 😔 Spoiler alert: If there are treatments, it negates their ability to enforce EUA vaccines – which require there being NO AVAILABLE TREATMENT.]
WHY are C0VlD+ people told to simply go home to wait and see what happens… when there are MANY GOOD SUGGESTIONS for surviving the virus? The medical community instead seemingly wants only to hospitalize (That’s the BIG $) people once they are REALLY SICK. [Though still, no real treatment… save – here in MN anyway – Remdesivier and ventilators (which other countries have found to hasten death).]
WHY are there no recommendations on immune boosting, Vitamins, sleep, diet? Instead managers and MSM promote ‘VACCINES’ as ‘OUR ONLY CURE!’ [As we see more and more breakthrough cases…]
WHY is there such a focus on the “unvaccinated infecting the vaccinated” – implying us deplorable folks – who still question the validity of mRNA vaccines as ‘fully-tested’ – are HARMING those who’ve been prudent in taking their prescribed EUA jabs? [The idea of vaccines as “safe, effective, and free” may be wrong on all three counts… as we know it is for sure on the last, as us taxpayers funded not only the development but the purchase of said jabs.]
WHY all the shaming of those – having been given no other option than vaccination – who try other means to protect themselves, be it immune system boosting, exercising, staying home, masking, and/or minimizing contacts? [Yet, even when MSM information is found to be false, like about all those horse dewormer victims filling hospitals in Oklahoma, it remains on the web. As ‘fact’.]
It feels to me the powers that be are truly getting scared of the information that is defying their idea that Vaccines are the ONLY WAY OUT of the pandemic. Is it perhaps their fear that Ivermectin could, in fact, replace MANY other patented and expensive Rx that are less effective? Are they seeing the simplicity of safe and well-known medications – used as off-label taking down their high-profit (and thus highly promoted) meds?
You know about off-label uses… like Viagra for hard-ons and Rogaine for baldness – FFS is it ONLY OK if it does something MEN want??? Fuck nurses and teachers who COULD be PROTECTED with prophylactic Ivermectin – like Argentina discovered? Or India?
Conclusion: Two-dose ivermectin prophylaxis at a dose of 300 μg/kg with a gap of 72 hours was associated with a 73% reduction of SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers for the following month. Chemoprophylaxis has relevance in the containment of pandemic.
Actually, there are lots of off-label uses… from Ativan to Beta-Blockers to Lorazapam, and MANY OTHERS that are used EVERY FUCKING DAY. Like 20% of all Rx are off-label… but suddenly, there’s an all out war to demonize Ivermection as a possible Covid treatment?
Did you hear that Merck poo-pood Ivermection – as it’s manufacturer!! What???? You don’t say??? [Whisper: they left out that they are… wait for it… No, Really, you’ll love this… They’re working on creating a new oral Covid treatment. SHHHH!!!! It’s gonna be patented and cost a TON of money because it will be so popular – a pill to prevent getting Covid, Oh, My! I mean… SHHHHH!!! Keep it under your hat]
“Merck said its new trial will study experimental drug molnupiravir for the prevention of COVID-19 among adults in the same household as someone diagnosed with symptomatic coronavirus infection.
I’m especially confused by those who can easily see the Regulatory Capture Enbridge has unleashed upon the state of Minnesota, but fail to see that Big Pharma has taken over what now seems… the entire US Government AND the control of all media.
I will continue to pursue truth. Regardless of those who lose faith in me. I’m not the first to be ostracized by those who once I thought were friend, trusted confidant, comrade.
If we get to the point of the government forcing us unvaccinated to wear a Big Yellow “A” on our chests, I sure hope none of my “friends” will go for the bounty of turning me in… as an enemy of the state.
The vaccination narratives are dangerously reminiscent of what I read about happening in Germany in the 30s… sweet potato hitler or no.
Today I’m wondering how many of those Germans back then cried all day long wondering why their fellow citizens would not awaken to the brainwashing of ‘Jew as Vermin’ from their “leaders”. 😥 At least I know they weren’t just Jews crying back then.
They’re destroying the world, our living spaceship… and the source of all life.
The only thing we can hope is that they stop in time.
The powers that be have trained us to oppress each other via division. We’ve seen too much of that in recent years. The result is that the status quo continues to support the elites, those with power and money, and those who cannot see the oppression of the majority, for whatever reason.
While the vaccine program, rushed and heavily promoted as the ONLY ANSWER, divides families and communities, it seems a failure similar to the ways that Racism and Climate Change have failed… where mostly white elites continue to find no way forward to a new way of life that supports all people and allows for egalitarian access and opportunity.
We see youth, angry and frustrated with the lack of recognition of the urgency with which we need to act.
We have watched as crowds have grown, standing in opposition to Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Ag. From Minnesota to India, half a world away, we see suppression of the voices of the people most connected to the land.
We see farmers in Minnesota who are left in the dust, literally, as Enbridge dewaters their landscape, draining shallow aquifers and removing water access for the people. [Unfortunately, with Republicans urging a firing of Commissioner Malcolm, a technique they’ve used repeatedly through the pandemic to combat the Walz administration, there may be no September session meaning farmers (and nurses, who were also on the agenda to be helped) may get no relief.]
And we know that the Arab Spring was started by a farmer in Tunisia, Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi (Arabic: طارق الطيب محمد البوعزيزي), who set himself afire in the market as he realized he had no other options… “His self-immolation was in response to the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.”
So what is to come? I fear the only response remaining is Revolution. People in the streets.
As we watch the eviction moratoriums expire, and we see today – HAPPY LABOR DAY! – the elimination of the unemployment supplement that has kept many hanging on during the pandemic, my guess is, the streets will have plenty of people with little to do except shout for justice.
“When we take to the frontlines, please remember why we are here. We are not here to fight the police. We are not here to intimidate workers. We are here for that water. We are here for each other. We are here for future generations.”
RFK tells some great stories about the Hudson River… and by great… I mean horrible. My old employer, GE (though I was at Aircraft Engines), polluted and privatized the commons… not cleaning up their mess.
We see the ever-growing Sock-Puppet Agencies, the Compromising of the Press, the Local Sovereignty Elimination, and the End of Transparency. People are saying, “Enough is Enough!”
I mean, we’re supposedly working to stay below 1.5 degrees Celcius… and we’re already at 1.23?
Last week in Minnesota, we saw:
Standing with Indigenous groups, Physicians call on Biden to revoke Enbridge’s permit.
Enbridge has said the upgrade is needed for safety reasons, to reduce maintenance needs, and to “create fewer disruptions to landowners and the environment.” But opponents from the medical community disagree. According to Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, or HPHC — the advocacy group that organized Tuesday’s nationwide protests — the project poses both immediate and long-term threats to Minnesota communities and Indigenous peoples, whether from an oil spill or from the pipeline’s contribution to climate change.
Vishnu Laalitha Surapaneni, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota who helped organize the rally in St. Paul, told Grist she is particularly worried about the pipeline’s potential impact on water quality. “We’re in the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” she explained, using Minnesota’s unofficial nickname. “This is not something that is compatible with healthy water.”
The protests will start with a rally in Trafalgar Square on Monday morning, 23 August. This is the anniversary of the Haitian slave rebellion of 1791 and the international day for the remembrance of the slave trade and its abolition. XR said its events were also intended to show solidarity with people in the global south who are worst affected by climate breakdown.
We are not powerless – you have more power than you think. We are the collective power to be the change that we need.”
Tim Crosland, of the pressure group Plan B, who was found in contempt of court for revealing early a supreme court ruling relating to Heathrow’s third runway plans, said: “We are targeting the City because these are the kind of people who are the real contributors to this crisis.”
He spoke out against recent claims by members of the Conservative party that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – the government’s target, set out in law – would cost too much money. “It’s embarrassing to claim that it is too expensive to save young people and our country and our planet. This is extremist ideology from some parts of the Conservative party,” he said. “They believe science will have to give way to the market, but it is not going to work that way, it’s the other way round. The economy will have to adapt to the science.”
By the time this posts, we’ll likely be hearing news from Trafalgar.
And if YOU Want To F*ck The System That’s Been F*cking You? – WATCH THIS!
Protest, Protect, and Build! A coherent movement. Ends should be human well-being and means should be money, economy, industry. Instead, we have a consumption-based economy that cares little for human well-being. The means are Nature and Humans. Remaining individualistic, we continue to suffer.
In other words:
Slavery never went away. It just got better clothes.”
Dan… as we watched the video
We cannot have social justice without environmental justice… until we behave justly to the planet upon which we live, our host system… our Mother.”
Russell Brand 10:47
Individualism is rooted in Separation. Division must be overcome. Long live difference and diversity… [as we eliminate caste?] dancing together. … We Belong to Each Other!”
Today I provide some insights giving more evidence of Enbridge’s unnecessary Line 3 Tar Sands pipeline. At this point, I’m wondering if perhaps even Enbridge execs themselves might appreciate a verdict from the Minnesota Court of Appeal Judges to halt construction. I mean: Quit while you’re behind, boys!!
If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Last year, Enbridge paid out 327% of its profit to shareholders in the form of dividends. This is not sustainable behaviour and requires a closer look on behalf of the purchaser. Yet cash flows are even more important than profits for assessing a dividend, so we need to see if the company generated enough cash to pay its distribution. Enbridge paid out more free cash flow than it generated – 172%, to be precise – last year, which we think is concerningly high. We’re curious about why the company paid out more cash than it generated last year, since this can be one of the early signs that a dividend may be unsustainable.
Cash is slightly more important than profit from a dividend perspective, but given Enbridge’s payouts were not well covered by either earnings or cash flow, we would be concerned about the sustainability of this dividend.”
It looks like Enbridge is getting ready to fuck over not just Minnesota, but likely their shareholders too? Maybe that’s why they’re suing Minnesota for back taxes? To help pay those shareholder dividends?
Looking at the industry, Canadian oil and gas extraction is circling the drain.
Capital expenditures (capex) for the Canadian oil and gas extraction industry have dropped a massive 73% since 2014. While this data includes tar sands as well as other conventional and offshore expenses, by far the largest sector in this industry is the tar sands. This indicates no need for a new tar sands pipeline.
As these expenditures include not just those for new projects but also ongoing maintenance costs, the substantial decrease indicates a likelihood of little to no capital spent on new Tar Sands projects in 2020. #NoNeed4Line3
As the global oil industry declines, some speculate new project capex will fall and cash available for maintenance may also fall, but not necessarily equally, as uneconomic and marginally economic companies would likely be those most likely to cut corners. [This dynamic may in part explain the Superior refinery explosion and its delayed reconstruction?]
So why is Enbridge pushing Line 3 and a new tunnel project for Line 5?
Some of the more humorous responses to this question include recognition of Enbridge management as unable to see their own future doom (bury your head in the sand theory) or curb their own incessant greed (making money as you doom children to a horrific future theory) both of which are based on the inane belief in perpetual growth and a fear of what will happen without it.
Meanwhile, Chevron is looking to drop their Canadian oil sands like a hot potato…
Chevron CEO Mike Wirth signaled he would consider selling its 20% stake in a Canadian oil sands mine as its faces investor pressure to do more to curb emissions and fight climate change. …
“We’re not in the kind of fire-sale mentality,” Wirth said. “But if we got what we think is fair value for an asset like that, we’ve been willing to transact on things that are of that scale and kind of relative importance in the portfolio.”
Oil sands are among the most challenged energy assets because of the volume of emissions created when producing crude from mines and from underground wells that require steam injection.
Facing increased pressure to cut carbon emissions, multiple international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ConocoPhillips have divested of their Canadian oil sands holdings in recent years.
Those pressures have only intensified in the past week. Chevron shareholders voted on May 26 in favor of a climate proposal to include emissions from customers’ burning of fuels in future reduction targets, against the wishes of the board.”
Things are looking decidedly murky at a granular level, with environmental activists taking advantage of the clean energy momentum and major policy changes by the world’s governments to turn the screw on Big Oil.
But what happens when you zoom out and look at the bigger picture—Entire nations that depend on oil to power their economies. How will economies that are heavily dependent on oil exports cope with the shift to low-carbon fuels?
In 2019, 40 countries across the globe exported crude worth $1 billion or more, with some like Iraq depending on oil sales to finance upwards of 90% of their budgets. Fossil fuel-dependent economies represent almost one-third of the world’s population and are responsible for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.
And now the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that pursuing net-zero emissions target is likely to be catastrophic for many oil exporters. …
For the first time ever, the world’s largest investment banks are backing renewable energy investments more than their fossil fuel brethren.
According to Bloomberg data covering almost 140 financial-service institutions worldwide, at least $203 billion in bonds and loans have gone into renewable projects through May 14, compared with $189 billion to businesses focused on hydrocarbons.
That marks the first time in the history of modern fossil fuels that such a shift is occurring.”
We must admit much of the issue is because there isn’t enough oversight of the powers that be, or outcry against those forces not being accountable to the people… which I reported on last week with the Jessica Intermill piece. Though the outcry seems to be rising as we see today a Treaty People’s Gathering bringing many to the Corridor to express their opposition to this dumb idea.
Meanwhile, we still await a verdict from the Minnesota Court of Appeals on the challenge to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approving the project without a true demand forecast and while the Environmental Impact Statement remained clearly inadequate to show the impacts of a spill into Lake Superior (previously remanded by the MN Court of Appeals).
It would seem that verdict might be favorable, based on the comments and questions from Judges Jesson, Reyes, and Kirk. Judge Jesson mentioned that the data on Need appeared to look like a Supply forecast, not a Demand forecast (law requires a Demand forecast). While Judge Reyes questioned if Enbridge created a situation of foregone conclusion that there would be no impact on Lake Superior by picking a site (Little Otter Creek) about 30 miles from the Lake… and only allowing 24 hours for the analysis. I mean, if the water has to travel at more than 60 miles/hour to get to Superior… you gotta admit, Reyes has a good point!
Well, happy may be a bad word… as there is no way to return thousands of decades old trees to the clearcut corridor. There is no way to remove the scars to the land that killed thousands of beings as Enbridge dug through wetlands. But perhaps happy to put the bill on Enbridge instead of us taxpayers to clean up their pipeline mess as the industry goes the way of the buggy whip?
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.
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?
Line 3 project has Enbridge lackeys currently eating through our forests here in Northern Minnesota. If you want to witness the destruction, you can review Facebook pages for RISE Coalition, Shanai Matteson, Ellen Hadley and many others. Lots to see as these Warriors hold the line until we can resolve the legal battles around the project. The Court we hope will rule quickly on filings made. Today I will focus on the various legal filings to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, specifically on their arguments regarding the Certificate of Need – or more precisely, the lack thereof, for this project.
It is clear from MN Statute 7853.0130 that when the PUC grants a Certificate of Need for an oil pipeline, the applicant must provide evidence of a demand forecast.
The Department of Commerce filing notes the PUC’s illegal approval and improper resulting action:
The Commission granted a certificate of need, holding that, although Enbridge did not submit an energy demand forecast, Enbridge’s forecasts on other topics and other evidence provided a sufficient substitute. …
The Department of Commerce consistently challenged Enbridge’s proposed forecasts for failing to account for demand, raising the issue in testimony, in briefing, in exceptions to the administrative law judge’s recommendation, and during Commission hearings. … The Department preserved the issue for review, as required by statute, in reconsideration petitions to the Commission’s orders granting a certificate of need. …
The Commission held that forecasts based on supply were sufficient to show demand for oil and that other parties failed to introduce sufficient evidence to show demand would be reduced in the future. …
The Department initially raised this issue in its exceptions to the administrative law judge’s report. Because the Commission adopted the administrative law judge’s legal position on this issue and reiterated it in its order, the Department raised the issue in reconsideration petitions to the Commission’s three orders granting the certificate of need.”
The DOC filing notes: “In 2016, a federal court in Michigan issued a consent decree that required Enbridge to seek all necessary approvals to replace the existing Line 3.” What this means is that they were ordered by the federal government to try to get a new pipeline for safety concerns on their current line. What it DOES NOT MEAN is that Enbridge gets a free pass to securing permits for a new pipeline.
The DOC lays it out pretty plainly. They explain that the statutes require “a ‘long-range energy demand forecast on which the necessity for the facility is based.’ Minn. Stat. § 216B.243, subd. 3.” More simply put: “To approve the construction of a crude oil pipeline, the Commission must determine that crude oil is needed.” However, Enbridge provided the Muse Stancil Report which projected utilization – NOT DEMAND. This report also noted that oil not used in the US could be exported… So… NOT for the 5-state region Enbridge claims to be supporting? For GLOBAL export?!? And they report that the author of the report “acknowledged that he ignored demand for refined product”!
The PUC failed: “By relying only on a single supply forecast based on oil producers’ expectations, the report ignored external factors affecting pipeline utilization, such as the expansion of other pipelines or the demand for refined products.” The PUC failed to consider either demand or global gluts of refined products (Thanks, Coronavirus!) that we are now seeing as our reality. So, they were WRONG. And in their errors, they violated the law and FAILED to protect Minnesotans from a Canadian corporation running roughshod over us here in the North Country.
the Commission granted the certificate of need, despite the Department’s objections that Enbridge failed to introduce an energy demand forecast.”
They add: “The Commission cited the Muse Stancil Report and evidence of apportionment on Enbridge’s mainline as sufficient bases to substitute for an energy demand forecast. The Commission reached this conclusion despite recognizing that a “key” input into the Muse Stancil Report was a crude oil supply forecast, rather than a demand forecast.” The PUC error seems pretty clear. The DOC filing goes on to reiterate the continued failings of the PUC throughout the process, relying “on the supply forecasts in the record to conclude that the oil supply will continue to increase and future demand will be equal to or exceed that supply”, which is so obviously NOT the case as 2020 has made QUITE clear. The PUC refused to be swayed by science or reason. Again and again. [We could have avoided YEARS of wasted taxpayer dollars if they’d just applied the law and said, Nope.]
Regarding the law, the DOC provides multiple cases that conclude the Court of Appeals is not bound by PUC decisions or required to defer to the PUC’s expertise (or lack thereof in this case). In fact, the DOC notes that the PUC’s shift to burden the opposition parties is another blunder for them to consider. They go on to do just that after explaining – in a way even a 2nd grader can understand it – why the PUC violated the law when not requiring Enbridge to provide a DEMAND forecast for their transportation of tar sands and approving the project anyway. They get pretty detailed… providing an entire paragraph on how various dictionaries define “energy” to confirm the statute details (page 13-14). They do point out the many idiotic ways some Commissioners tried to define the “need” for a new Line 3.
This fun section (starting mid-page 17) explains how Enbridge duped most of the Commissioners [but not us Water Protectors!]. “Even though his report’s model assumed crude oil demand would automatically absorb supply, the Muse report’s author puzzlingly agreed that future demand for crude oil would ultimately drive use of Line 3. … Rather than assisting the Commission in determining whether the crude oil supplied by the proposed project will be needed, the Muse Stancil Report’s assumption of continuous high demand assumes the project is needed.”
If it wasn’t so fun to read of the PUC failings over and over again, you might get sick of how many ways and how thoroughly the DOC explains the Commissioners’ repetitive reliance on the supply forecast – in error. Here’s one more…
Because the Commission committed legal error by failing to evaluate a forecast of demand for the type of energy to be supplied by the proposed facility, and instead relied on the pipeline utilization forecast based on crude oil supply in the Muse Stancil Report, the Court should reverse.”
OK, OK. Thanks for indulging me. The DOC goes on to write about how neither Apportionment nor the Desires of Enbridge’s Customers is a Demand Forecast. [DUH… unless you are one of our four erroneous (idiot/bought?) PUC Commissioners] Then they close with a review of the PUC’s SHIFT, placing the burden on opposition parties to prove the pipeline WASN’T needed, noting this too gives one pause. For Fucks Sake. Statutes require the Applicant to prove a need for their requested relief. [This ain’t Rocket Science! Though this sure reminds of the PUC! Had to stick some recent fun in…]
This says it pretty clearly:
Despite Enbridge’s legal obligation to provide an energy demand forecast to prove need, an erroneous legal standard pervaded the proceeding—that parties other than Enbridge must show that demand for crude oil would be reduced in the future, and therefore the pipeline would not be needed. This shift of the burden of producing a demand forecast and the burden of persuading the decision-maker to show the project would not be needed began with the ALJ. Relying on the Muse Stancil Report’s assumptions that refineries would operate at capacity, the ALJ required intervening parties to quantify how demand for oil would be reduced. …
While the ALJ recognized that global forces reducing demand for oil are ‘very real,’ she nevertheless stated that ‘no party has presented any data actually quantifying this possibility.’ The ALJ went on to find that ‘raw claims alone do not negate [Enbridge’s expert’s] assumption that (at least through 2035) surplus oil can be exported outside the U.S.’ …
In other words, the ALJ required the other parties to prove that crude-oil demand would decrease, instead of requiring Enbridge to forecast the demand for crude oil from Line 3.
The Commission carried through this burden shift to its orders, concluding that intervenors failed to introduce into the record “sufficient evidence of the extent to which … forces could reduce demand during the forecast period.”
The DOC goes on to really hammer the point home… a couple more times. For the real legal/word nerds, the last full paragraph on page 28 is a favorite. 😀
The filing submitted by Red Lake Band, White Earth Band, Honor the Earth and Sierra Club (The Parties) presented on the issue of Need, along with two other considerations that ask the court to reverse the PUC’s decisions. With regard to Need, there is a great explanation of Enbridge’s erroneous reliance on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecast of “supply” as their proof of “demand” for their product, a new pipeline. (pages 4-6) There follows a rational explanation of why neither Enbridge nor its customers are who drive demand. Don’t we all understand that demand is decided by all of us in how we choose to use the final products? This is driven home by quotes from the Administrative Law Judge who heard the testimony:
It is commonsense that reduced demand for refined products would impact the price, supply, and profitability of crude oil. By ignoring the demand for refined products –and focusing only on the supply of Canadian crude –Mr. Earnest’s analysis ignores an important factor in forecasting the need for additional transportation of crude.”
They further note: “In the Muse Stancil model, “demand for crude oil” is a modelling assumption, not a model output.” & “This forecast assumes that if U.S. demand is not sufficient to consume all supplied Canadian crude oil, then overseas demand would be sufficient in all future years to demand this supply.” (page 9) Which is none of their business really, as the PUC is only authorized to consider the energy needs for citizens in our region, not the whole fucking planet. [my emphasis]
Following the plain language of the law, the Court will reverse this capricious PUC decision. (pages 14-15)
The Arguments made by The Parties are strong and clear, and similar to the DOC filing, include definitions, this time for “demand”, “forecast”, and “accuracy”. They claim:
… the legislature, when it enacted Minn. Stat. § 216B.243, intended for determinations of “need” for energy transportation infrastructure to be based on a forecast of consumer (public) demand for energy, because it is society that demands energy, not the companies that supply it.”
There follows an edifying explanation of energy demand and consumers. And… some additional piling on of how asinine the approving Commissioners have been to obediently lap up Enbridge’s “proof” of “demand” without giving consideration to either A) facts or B) Enbridge’s obvious self-aggrandizement. Personally loved this line: “The CAPP production and supply forecasts should be seen for what they are: the Canadian oil industry’s black box estimates of its own future crude oil production and exports.” [aka Wishful Thinking, Thanks, Paul!]
Bottom line: The Parties ask the court to “remand this matter to the Commission for hearings to allow presentation of a forecast of consumer demand for petroleum supported by adequate disclosure of its underlying data, assumptions, calculations, and methodology”. So mote it be.
And… since I cannot seem to stop myself from reading all these legal documents that give me such hope, and more importantly because I am a HUGE FAN, I’m gonna go on to also read the filing from Friends of the Headwaters’ Scott Strand. Yep. And you know what? I can summarize it in a couple shots of the Table of Contents!! Here we go…
What the PUC did:
Why they were Wrong:
How they were Criminal Assholes about it all:
As you can see from the descriptive titles on each section, Scott eats their fucking lunch legally. But this seems to be where the brashness ends as he cuts to facts and serious arguments for the narrative. I’ve enjoyed watching this guy argue in front of the PUC for YEARS and I gotta give BIG kudos to FOH for paying him to keep doing it. Support them if you can. They’re literally a bunch of old folks down in Park Rapids spending their own time, green, and energy trying to stop a pipeline. And begging for more money to keep doing that. And they’re old now because they been doing this shit for too many fucking years. Seriously, give them some money. Do it today. It’s all I want for Christmas. Really. [OMFG… am I channelling Helen? Did Margaret’s BFF die? Please tell me no because I LOVE that mouthy bitch!]
While the longer narrative is a bit drier, it’s still a joy to read for this nerd. Now go give some money to Friends so we can WIN this Legal Battle once and for all!!
And what can Minnesota expect should the Court fail to adhere to the law and grant a Stay? The results we saw in Pembina County, North Dakota for Enbridge’s short 13-mile stretch there may tell the tale. At 26 times the length they had, our 337-mile project could lead to thousands of deaths, exponentials being what they are…
It appears that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will continue to flout basic ethical practices, as well as the law, as they collude to assure Enbridge can continue its massive tar sands pipeline project in northern Minnesota during the surging pandemic. Friday’s Hearing to consider the White Earth and Red Lake Bands’ Motion for Stay was sickening to observe.
If you’re curious to understand what it was like to watch the Treaties being sold by white men stealing everything good from the Natives while pretending they were being “good neighbors”, you can get an earful and an eyeful if you watch what went down at the PUC Friday.
Today, I’m gonna keep the overview brief. [Well, I’m gonna try. And at the end, I’ll review Enbridge’s hypocrisy as they play the same card in two different ways in their games with Michigan and Minnesota. They’re going for a “Heads, we win… Tails, you lose” scenario, which only works with those who aren’t paying attention and listening closely.] Law 360 did a good piece on it – a bit shorter read, almost as fun.
Here’s my SHORT VERSION of Friday:
Chair Katie Seiben: We RUSHED to HELP YOU and gave a Hearing in 3 short days!! And here we Commissioners are… to hear the Tribal Motion for Stay on our Orders for the Line 3 project!! Anything anyone needs to add for our consideration? And, like, how come you didn’t file sooner guys?
Joe Plumer, attorney for Red Lake Band of the Chippewa: We couldn’t file until all your orders became official and the imminent danger of construction began. If we tried earlier, you would have explained that the project hadn’t even been given approvals yet.
Frank Bibeau, attorney for White Earth Band of the Ojibwe: Saw their filing but I’m not sure Enbridge understands how the Minnesota court systems work. Stays are EXPECTED during Appeals and we’re simply asking for the PUC to allow the Court decisions to play out without becoming moot. Enbridge’s response had only a few sentences about COVID-19… yet our Tribal Chairman’s letter notes that we’re talking about our tribal members dying. The PUC has the right to exercise a Stay and that’s what we’re asking.
Enbridge: We have nothing more to add but sure hope you saw all those letters towns along the right-of-way submitted [thanks, colluders!] about their harms if construction doesn’t start. [Lost wages being more important than lives of our citizens?]
Commissioner Tuma (Enbridge’s best buddy on the PUC): If the Court of Appeals can grant a Stay, why do we have to? Like, what happens if we don’t? [Cause, that’s already your decision, right, Tuma?]
Plumer: Uh, because the law implies that the most important consideration is to maintain the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals and… it’s your job. If you don’t, we’ll look for a 2-week stay in order to get to the Court of Appeals with our concerns.
Tuma: Well, I don’t think we should obstruct them or their legal authority. Since you’ll be there in a couple weeks, we can take a pass here. How much damage can possibly happen by then?
Katie: Miss Friedlander, can you tell us what’s happening on the ground? Mr. Prantis? Enbridge?
Anna Friedlander, representing United Association: There are about 250 of our members there as of a couple days ago with “up to about 615” expected. And, yes, Commissioner Tuma, if Governor Walz orders a lock down, we’ll surely abide it… but that would have to come as a larger overall shutdown of all construction in the state.
Kevin Prantis of LIUNA: We have a thousand tradesmen out this week and working toward 2000 for next week.
Enbridge: “There are five spreads… and work has started throughout, not only through training as the workforce is arriving but also equipment is also being used to start the clearing process along the right-of-way in each of those spreads…. with issuance of the final permits Monday and it will continue in the weeks to come.”
Commissioner Schuerger (only Commissioner to oppose the project to date… ~30 minutes into the Hearing): So trees are being cleared now. When can we expect digging of trenches? In coming weeks? [Note: this is an irreparable harm as ruled in previous instances for Stay.]
Enbridge: “That has not yet begun as again the preparation work is underway but it will be underway shortly and in the next week to two weeks and beyond. … Work at facilities, Enbridge owned property is underway and that will continue.” [Note: Enbridge owns 1180 acres in Hubbard County alone.]
[There is a lot more discussion on a bunch of notions in the middle like: how come you didn’t file for a stay earlier; will the company and workers comply if the Governor issues a shutdown; and then the bringing in of Leech Lake representatives who explained that as a Member of the Tribe, Joe Plumer doesn’t speak for Leech Lake. How fucking appropriate given all the history I’ve watched as Tribes struggle just like colonizers with their government for protections. And what did Joe reveal? That Enbridge’s promise to Leech Lake was that all 6 of their pipelines would be removed by 2029 from their Reservation Lands. That means the Line 3 “replacement” is just the first of many more “relocations”. Frank Bibeau attempted to explain some treaty law to these imbeciles but they were not listening, it’s clear – as you’ll see from Tuma’s coming comments. You know, when you repeatedly explain, “I’m not trying to cause division,” it kinda makes me wonder if you’re trying to convince ME, or YOURSELF, Tuma… Frank also tried to explain the Federal Consent Decree, which the PUC reads as a REQUIREMENT for them to APPROVE the Line 3 project – and which it is not. Again, only Commissioner Schuerger was listening. Finally, just before the break for consideration, Joe Plumer notes that the Minnesota Chippewa Tribes letter must be removed from the docket as it did not have full tribal committee approval. Again, Tribal “leaders” trying to push through something the “People” (band members) oppose? Let’s return to the Hearing now for their decision.]
Commissioner Schuerger (1:28:50): “I’ve carefully read the joint motion for a stay of the Line 3 Replacement Project and answers to that motion and I’ve reviewed relevant law and discussed this application with our legal counsel. … I support the actions requested by the motion.” [He further argued there is no legislation that gives the Commission authority to require a bond for a stay.] “The Commission clearly does have jurisdiction and the authority to grant a stay – and no parties here have argued that we do not have that jurisdiction and authority. Regarding the legal standard… there is clear guidance from prior Commission orders and prior court cases and notably, um, in one of our recent cases, it was a petition from Excel Energy for approval of solar gardens and the order denied reconsideration and our clarifying on our own motion. In that order, the Commission stated that, um, that we grant a stay when it appears that a stay would provide the most equitable balancing of the interests of the parties. In balancing those interests,” various factors are considered… “In this case there is disagreement between the parties about whether the Commission should evaluate the likelihood of reversal on appeal. In my review of the record and the applicable law, I’m convinced that we should not.” [And he proceeds to give the legal basis for his stance, referencing Webster and other Supreme Court rulings, which give the Commission discretion to review the factors.] … Whether considering if the moving parties, the Tribes, will suffer irreparable harms, or if Enbridge will, or to protect the jurisdiction of the courts, the most important factor is the latter, protecting a legal point from becoming moot during Appeal. “A Stay is necessary to protect the Court of Appeals. … Focusing on relevant and key factors, the Tribes argue Line 3 will cause serious and irreparable harms with both construction and operations, and these cannot be reversed if the Tribes prevail in court. These arguments are in my view persuasive and critically important. And I know that Friends of the Headwaters supports and supplements the Tribes petition with Federal case law demonstrating a pattern of giving more weight to environmental harms than financial ones when conducting this type of analysis.” [Well, that’s too bad, Matt, because all those other Commissioners, they done got together and decided that the lost wages of workers is FAR MORE CONCERNING to them than any ole ndn lives. But please, my friend, continue…] “Overall, as I look at balancing the factors before us, um, just note that the Tribes argue and Enbridge appears to agree, that the Commission should evaluate whether there are irreparable harms to the Tribes or the public and whether there are irreparable or disproportionate harms to Enbridge. … I’ve evaluated the key relevant factors, applied the relevant law, weighed the balance of interests. I believe that the record before us supports a finding of irreparable harms to the Tribes, and importantly, I agree that a Stay is necessary to protect the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. Constructing the entire Line 3 replacement before the courts can issue an opinion would clearly limit the courts ability to impact the project, and thus would limit its authority and jurisdiction. In my view colleagues, the record and the law support granting the Stay.” [1:36:53]
PUC Hearing on a Motion for Stay from White Earth and Red Lake Tribes.
My favorite line from Commissioner Schuerger? It comes at 1:35:09 “The Tribes and other parties point out that Enbridge has a legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to prevent release from existing Line 3, including, if necessary, shutting the pipeline down.” Amen, Brother. It’s PHMSA’s jurisdiction anyway, not that of the PUC. [More on that below.]
So what did the other Commissioners say? Mainly that they were so concerned about all those folks waiting for jobs up along that ole pipeline route that they are just sure the best decision is to let the project move forward and assure Enbridge gets everything they ask! Commissioner Means explains (again, really, guys, get some new drums, ffs) her bewilderment with why this wasn’t filed sooner (which in her mind renders it ridiculous), along with a bunch of justifications for how the decrepitude of Enbridge’s current Line 3 REALLY, REALLY, REALLY mean they need to build a NEW ONE! [More on that later too…]
Commissioner Means goes on to say, “… the Motion to Stay should be denied. And although I considered all factors [including all the dead people?]… first with respect to the allegations that denying the stay would cause irreparable harms… the balance of the harms favors denial of the Motion because arguments related to this factor largely centered on impacts to the environment.” [Does that mean you DIDN’T consider the impact of COVID deaths?]
Means literally fucking argues that (again because Line 3 is so dangerous), “the record supports that operation of existing Line 3 is more likely to cause environmental harm than construction of the project. Therefore, denying the stay protects the court’s jurisdiction [TF?] because denying the stay would cause LESS HARM than granting the stay. [I think she’s a little confused about the actual law, this petition, and frankly, I just gotta say, if this chick is a lawyer, she’s a shitty one.] She basically says that since the Appeal Court themselves can issue a Stay, then they will maintain their authority.
My FAVORITE line from her is on the harms to non-moving parties… where she notes that any ideas that pipeline workers would contribute to the spread of COVID-19 are “simply unsupported”… [except by the MN Department of Health data?] and that these pipeline workers are “beneficial for Minnesota’s economy”! [apparently the only fkn thing this commission is considering.] She asks that we allow her to “be plainspoken for a moment”:
I think it would be an unconscionable disregard for the irreparable harm to these workers if the Commission grants the Motion to Stay.”
Commissioner Means [1:43:02] [Nothing a little unemployment check can’t fix? But… Irreparable? Really, Ms. Means? REALLY???
Commissioners Sullivan and Tuma go on with further similar justifications, citing the begging community letters. These revenues will go to schools! [Note: These same communities are being sued by Enbridge for back taxes and thus are in dire economic straits to begin.] Tuma (lying that he “won’t belabor it”) made a BIG PRODUCTION (as usual) with some bullshit ass kissing, this time for Governor Walz – as the Lone Republican, no less!! He spoke of how serious COVID is and that it needs to be addressed and then how the last thing the Governor needs is the PUC second-guessing his decisions or trying to claim authority over his powers. He noted it would be “extremely dangerous” for a motion to come through a back door via state agency to disrupt the Governor’s emergency powers, “bordering on treason.” [1:53 See what I mean about this Queen?] Even dramatically explains that HE HAS COVID NOW!
This is an emergency, this is a crisis, this is a war we’re fighting. It is a serious war. OK? And I’m losing my breath a little bit because I HAVE COVID! OK! … We should NOT, through a Stay Motion, even be doing this. And I think it was inappropriate to even ask us to consider that.”
Commissioner Tuma [It’s a TUMA! Drama QUEEN – sorry Queens to dirty us with this designation but for realz!]
So Tuma argues on the serious dangers of COVID-19 but CANNOT SEEM TO GRASP that those are the dangers for which the Tribes are ASKING FOR A FUCKING STAY!
Meanwhile, as Commissioner Schuerger noted, Friends of the Headwaters stood with the Tribes:
Friends of the Headwaters make a clear and concise argument:
The Tribes’ motion contains a detailed explanation and review of the relevant law. But the standards for granting a stay pending appeal are straightforward: (1) Does the appeal raise substantial issues? (2) Will there be injuries to one or more parties absent a stay? (3) Would a stay promote the public interest in preserving the appellate court’s jurisdiction? (Referencing Webster…) In today’s circumstances, the answer to each of those questions is yes. Therefore, a stay pending appeal is fully justified.
…there are many indications that the issues in the multiple appeals meet the “substantiality” test: * The PUC itself was divided on the issues now on appeal; * The PUC has already been reversed twice on the environmental review of the Line 3 project and the previous Sandpiper project that would have followed much of the same route; * The government agency with the acknowledged expertise on the need/demand question has concluded that the project does not meet the requirements of the statute and the rules, and is appealing the PUC decision itself, not a regular occurrence; * The relevant facts keep changing, but the PUC does not want to consider the changed circumstances.”
FOH Filing clearly reiterates that the Motion for Stay by the Tribes has substantial legal grounds. Thanks, Scott Strand and FOH. [my emphasis]
And the motion passed, just as their orders did, with a 4-1 vote and one lone Commissioner retaining love from the public… as he’s the only one listening to our concerns and properly applying the law to our requests.
Should we be surprised? Nah. Are we heartbroken? Yeah.
This is par for the course for Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission on the Line 3 project approval process (with the exception of Commissioner Schuerger in 2020). They use the arguments that make them look like they care but fail to recognize that these same arguments show how little they care for people – as they ignore the pleas of Tribes begging for a pause for life, they praise themselves for accommodating the Tribes they FORCED to choose the least of pipeline evils facing them, all while ignoring any Treaty Rights and Responsibilities.
This is also par for the course for Enbridge – using arguments differently to suit their fancy. When decisions are in their favor, they have no issue with a State agency thinking they have more power than they truly do… but when the decision is not in their favor, they are happy to cite law. They applauded the PUC’s decision, based mainly on the unsafe condition of their current Line 3 [which truly should surely mean we don’t give them ANOTHER chance to FAIL?] but… sue Michigan noting:
“The attempt to shut down Line 5 interferes with the comprehensive federal regulation of pipeline safety and burdens interstate and foreign commerce in clear violation of federal law and the US Constitution,” an announcement from the company states.
In its filing, the company argued Michigan’s shutdown order interferes with federal authority in a way that “would create a disturbing precedent” and encourage “copycat” actions in other states.
Enbridge is basically arguing that Michigan is attempting to thwart the power, authority, and jurisdiction of the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) with their removal of an easement that complies with state law. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the company constantly encouraged the PUC to act out of concern for safety of their current Line 3 in approving a New Line 3 “replacement”, which would also be a clear upsurping of PHMSA authority. Can’t have it both ways, Enbridge.
This is where we’re at, Minnesota. It’s time for a SOLID “NO” on Enbridge’s proposed Line 3.
Perhaps you watched on April 20thas oil hit a below-zero low at -$37.63/barrel? That’s a We’ll-Pay-You business model that just doesn’t work. And now, as many of the Supermajors are divesting of assets… those assets now include employees.
Other big oil firms are facing similar challenges. Rival BP has also cut its dividend and recently announced it was cutting 10,000 jobs out of its global workforce of 70,000.”
[That’s… almost 15% of its workforce.]
~ Shell to cut up to 9,000 jobs as oil demand slumps BBC News 9/30/20
Like other refiners in the United States, Marathon Petroleum – the biggest – is idling refinery capacity and cutting jobs to cope with the losses stemming from the demand crash in the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Exxon faces losses for a third straight quarter as demand continues to stagnate.
For the second quarter, Exxon reported at the end of July its second consecutive quarterly loss, which was the worst loss for the U.S. supermajor in its modern history.
Exxon booked a loss of US$1.1 billion for the second quarter due to the global oversupply and COVID-related demand impacts. This compares with earnings of US$3.1 billion for the same period last year.”
And… it seems not only has Big Oil been lying about Climate Change effects from their products for generations, but present-day oil gangsters are working to carefully prevent enough of us from realizing the sham as they work to hide the flaring of natural gas as they pull oil from the ground. Perhaps to prevent formation of a rebellion to stop them. [Spoiler alert: It’s too late.]
At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times.
“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, at the June 2019 gathering, held in Colorado Springs. “This pesky natural gas,” he said. “The value of it is very minimal,” particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil.
A well can produce both oil and natural gas, but oil commands far higher prices. Flaring it is an inexpensive way of getting rid of the gas.”
Yet the practice of burning it off, producing dramatic flares and attracting criticism, represented a “huge, huge threat” to the industry’s efforts to portray natural gas as a cleaner and more climate-friendly energy source, he said, and that was damaging the industry’s image, particularly among younger generations.
~ A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change by Hiroko Tabuchi 9-12-20
Some ~ already awakening to the alignment of the regulatory agencies and the oil industry dismissing concerns from landowners and environmentalists ~ are now calling for reforms. As we’ve seen with Line 3 here in Minnesota with the PUC, MPCA, and DNR, every step of the way favors industry over residents. Industry meets regularly in board rooms with no opposition ideas provided any space. Meanwhile, citizens perhaps get a 3-minute public comment, which is summarily ignored and gets no response from government agencies, as I reported a few weeks back. A short 2-minute video is included at this link.
And Scott Russell at Healing Minnesota Stories also wrote recently about the MEQB’s dismissal of the public voice while presenting the Minnesota State 2020 Water Plan, echoing my concerns regarding Indigenous Treaty Rights.
After nine speakers and roughly 20 minutes testimony, Bishop cut off additional Line 3 comments. “We should stick to the Water Plan and not the individual actions and projects,” she said. Comments on Line 3 “seem to be a bit beyond the Water Plan itself.”
Which is the problem in a nutshell. The EQB apparently doesn’t see a connection between the Water Plan and project-specific decisions state agencies have to make, on such things as permits for Line 3 or large feed lots.
Bishop started to move towards a vote, when Nookomis (Deb Topping), an enrolled member at Fond du Lac, asked to speak. She wanted to know if the EQB had consulted with any of the state’s Native Nations in developing the Water Plan and if anyone on the board was familiar with the Winters Doctrine.
No one knew about the Winters Doctrine. …
The EQB approved the Water Plan on a vote of 11-1.”
~ State’s new ‘Water Plan’ looks good on paper, critics say it lacks accountability by Scott Russell 10/2/20
Judge John Guthmann’s ruling in the evidentiary hearing in the case of the Environmental Protection Agency’s comments on the water pollution permit to mine for PolyMet issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency… showed that the MPCA attempted to delay the EPA from submitting comments critical of the PolyMet mining project until the public comment period had ended.
In a permitting case as risk-laden to the St. Louis River watershed and to Lake Superior as the PolyMet mine, such manipulation of public information is an extremely troubling failure of enforcement of regulatory protections. The public has a right to information pertinent to all regulatory enforcement. In this case, important EPA comments expressing grave concerns about the lack of water quality-based effluent limits were withheld.
Paula Maccabee, advocacy director and counsel for the nonprofit WaterLegacy, stated, “We didn’t learn about the EPA’s withheld comments through the MPCA’s permitting processes. These comments were revealed only due to confidential (whistleblower) sources and Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by WaterLegacy and settled by the federal government.”
The value of laws and safeguards rests on the trust of the people in their integrity and, just as importantly, their enforcement. Lapses or breaches of enforcement of environmental regulatory protections cannot be acceptable. Minnesotans demand a higher standard from all agencies entrusted with the care and protection of our natural resources for the sake of healthy communities across the state.”
~ Local View: Enforcement is key to environmental protections by Linda Herron | Oct 2nd 2020
And perhaps the corruption will get worse as fossil fuel magnates try to squeeze every penny they can from the ground as We Have Entered the “End Game” for Oil—With “Permanent Demand Destruction” noted in late July?
Indeed, every day renewables gets cheaper and cheaper. A paper published in the scientific journal Nature this week examined the potential for offshore wind competitiveness without any government subsidies.
The research examined wind power for five countries in Europe and found that offshore wind is going to be so cheap that it will soon no longer need government subsidies to compete, and that significant savings could soon be potentially passed on to consumers.
The lead researcher Dr. Malte Jansen, from the Center for Environmental Policy at Imperial College in London, said: “Offshore wind power will soon be so cheap to produce that it will undercut fossil-fueled power stations and may be the cheapest form of energy for the UK…This is an astonishing development.”
~ We Have Entered the “End Game” for Oil—With “Permanent Demand Destruction” by Andy Rowell 7/31/20
As the game gets desperate, will we see more desperados? Will Enbridge try to sneak in a bunch of workers from out of state as the election season distraction unfurls… thinking no one will notice?
We’re watching as it’s looking like they are planning just such a scheme. Word is that some areas along the proposed pipeline route are reporting local hotels booked solid as 2020 turns into 2021… Will Enbridge ignore the global calls to Keep Tar Sands in the Ground? Or will they bully their way through the wetlands of Minnesota, bringing their sludge pushing pipeline with them?
It’s been a bad year for Big Oil. A decade ago, a barrel of oil could fetch around $100. This year, prices briefly touched zero. With coronavirus lockdowns partially lifted, crude is now selling for $40 – $45. BP says demand for fossil fuels will drop 50% to 75% by 2050. On cue, Unilever just announced it will rid its cleaning products of fossil fuels by 2030, in the name of cutting carbon emissions.
Last year, after buying Anadarko, Occidental Petroleum Corporation was a $80 billion corporation. It’s now worth about $12 billion and selling off assets. U.S. shale celebrated its second acquisitions boom from 2016 to 2019; now, many of these deals won’t work. Lenders are shying away from fossil fuels, lest they get stuck with the stranded assets.
It’s worth noting that Salesforce.com, the company that just replaced ExxonMobil in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, produces carbon-tracking software so companies can disclose emissions data to shareholders. The writing is on the wall, boldface. …
Real Sustainability: Controlling Ourselves
Big Oil can’t go soon enough, but its replacements have to be used with care. Humans have already altered more than half of the Earth’s land surface. By August, just eight months into 2020, we used up the amount of resources it takes the planet a whole year to regenerate. A finite planet can’t take infinite growth—of our businesses or the Homo sapiens who run them.
We need to cut our energy use down. We need real plans to stop sprawl—especially now, as the remote work trend releases people from city living and allows them to head for the countryside.
If the pandemic can teach us to work without commuting, surely it can teach us to make peace with less extravagant lives. To shift from animal agribusiness to plant proteins. To stop binge flying. To hike locally, to more deeply appreciate the culture and beauty where we live. To wear condoms as well as masks. Eco-friendly ones, of course.
And, if they succeed, will we be better off than with their OLD Line 3?
A new tar sands pipeline is far more dangerous and costly than Enbridge would like us all to believe as they remind us every day of our budget shortfalls they can help remedy. And collusion with Enbridge comes at what cost to Minnesotans? Are we sacrificing our clean waters, our tourism, our own food production so that a Canadian corporation can transport the dirtiest of fossil fuels through our state to sell it globally?
It seems that Commissioner Laura Bishop at the MPCA is gearing up to permit Enbridge to decimate Northern Minnesota as they all (MPCA and Enbridge) pretend the fossil fuel industry has a future in tar sands infrastructure. I say the better path is to protect some of the cleanest NATURAL water infrastructure of Minnesota. It’s not only the path the public is urging the MPCA to take, it’s literally their mission.
Unfortunately, lots of marketing and cheerleading doesn’t protect the environment. And dreamy idealistic plans don’t equate with concrete goals and measurables that result in agency and corporate accountability. Perhaps this is why the water quality in Minnesota continues to degrade?
Hope the PUC, MPCA, DNR and other agencies will begin to listen.
So in case it hasn’t become clear to you yet, the end will not be Logan’s Run or Mad Max or even Threads (my personal prediction). It’s more like the book of the same name for the year Threads came out… 1984.
The doublespeak is insane. The arrogance with which they are acting is more blatant each year. They seemed to really kick it in to high gear with the Kavanagh debacle and I’ll be dammed if that shit didn’t stick!
They’ve escalated the antics, right through an impeachment “trial” with no witnesses or evidence. We’re living in a recession, eight months in to a global pandemic, and Congress left for recess! [Well, of course, they’re people of means… why wouldn’t they head out for vacation, while millions of Americans suffer? It seems the way of the wealthy – their Cancer of Greed has gotten to Stage 4.]
People are being evicted from their homes, finding themselves without enough money to buy food and medicine, largely due to severe unemployment, levels we haven’t seen since when? 1958? [Many of us experienced this in 2008… and many since have struggled for employment, or worked multiple shitty paying jobs to make ends meet in the “new economy” of the last decade. I will say the 2008 Recession was Dan and my clear sign to GTFO.] And yet the Stock Market is soaring! [You know, as the Federal Reserve pumps 15 Trillion of our tax dollars in, like so many little blue pills, to prop it up…
And NOW! They’re taking out the fucking mailboxes for Christ’s sake!!
So, yes, it’s the hunger games. For realz now.
Got a text this morning from a friend: Is Mother Earth trying to give us another wake up call??? I’ve had some really dark meditations and it’s focused on the earth. Maybe it’s as simple as my mind working through all the data points.
Have you or any of your more spiritual friends sensed that something really bad is going to happen?
I don’t watch the news, don’t have any subscriptions online but the number of natural disasters I’m aware of is increasing exponentially.
You and I talked a few years ago and I ignorantly said, “nothing catastrophic has happened”. You rattled off 3-4 significant natural disasters around the world.
(Stopped) reading because I need to put this out there. In the last 2 weeks I can think of 8-10 non precedented weather events. … • Mumbai, India 50% of the slum population has COVID and they are experiencing monsoon rains with more rainfall than ever recorded. • Ice melts in Serbia and Canada. • Heat wave in CA. • Severe thunderstorm, heavy winds, tornadoes from the Midwest to NE. 1. Cedar Rapids, IW had hurricane level 2 force winds, 1M trees down, 300K people without power. 2. IN power outages all over, trees down and damage to structures. 3. Same storm hit the NE… CT lost power for 9 days. • Earthquake in NC or GA • Excessive rainfall in MN
Yep. And I sat on the porch last night thinking: • It’s August and I’m on the porch excited about drinking a WARM beverage… • We got 8″ of rain in the last week… • And what’s with all the rocket launches? Is there already a secret war on Mars? Who has a relative or friend in Space Force? Anyone?
I replied to my my friend: Yeah. Dan had been saying ‘we’ve gone too far’ for a while now. I think because HE senses it based on data. I just thought he was a pessimist, which he can be, but I’m wondering more each day. Yeah. We had 8″ of rain in 6 days this past week. Sunday-Monday 4″+ in 48 hours, then Friday we got 4″+ in 24 hours…
IT is happening. (has been… for decades) again.. water on the toes… some of us have been feeling it for years now but the powers that be aren’t listening. Watch The Power – #1 movie on Netflix this week. Pretty accurate depiction of a metaphor of current situation. Mankind keeps pushing limits until there’s no breathing room. Literally. 🤨
I think it’s gonna be mass migration and starvation this year… even in the US.
Get ready, my friends. It’s seems a train is coming. A big train. It’s begun picking up passengers… thousands by the day. The climate chaos predicted is happening… at an exponentially increasing pace it seems – and the starvation and migration have been happening for years in some places on the globe. Places the humans in power don’t look at or talk about… as much as they can avoid it.
The pace seems to be quickening – or at least bumping up in fits and starts – but I am hopeful many will remain to rebuild – more sustainably, I hope – after the starving times. And there will be some who have enough to share with their communities around them to help them survive.
You’re all pretty enlightened, so you know that the Wiindigo system doesn’t work like ours. Instead of understanding and respecting the natural world or the rights of Mother Earth or the Creator’s laws—the highest laws— we live in a society that writes a bunch of laws based on who’s in power, redistributes pollution, arbitrarily changes recommended daily allowances of radiation and contaminants, and pretends that it’s all right to allocate the water in western basins until there’s no water left there. That’s the arrogance of a system that has no check with reality. And that’s what’s going on. There is no understanding for a cyclical system. We all live in a super-linear world instead of a cyclical world, and perhaps one of the best examples of that, in addition to the pipeline battles, is the fact that we live in a society with something like 13 trillion pounds of waste produced annually in the U.S. That doesn’t include waste water, and I ask myself, what is waste water? There’s no new water being made. In 2010 Americans wasted some 133 billion pounds of food. With a 430 billion pound food supply, that’s more than one-third of the whole being wasted. Economically, it’s $161.6 billion in food wastage. … In an Anishinaabe or other indigenous economy, one’s stature is associated with one’s generosity. That is why we have massive giveaways; that is why we have massive potlatches, which are ceremonial feasts at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth and enhance prestige, because your stature in your community is ensured by how much you give away. In today’s society, people’s stature is ensured by how much they accumulate, and wealth is aggrandized. We don’t ask where they got it, how they got it, and how much they need. We act as if it doesn’t matter, and what I’m saying is that perhaps the time has come to turn that around because it’s not going to work out. Let me tell you what I think about this. And I won’t go into the consequences because I think you already know about the destruction of so many species of life. For example, fifty million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world, destroyed. General Philip Sheridan, commanding armies of the west, urged destruction of the buffalo herds, foreseeing that when they disappeared, the Indians would disappear along with them; by 1885 the buffalo were virtually extinct, and the Indians were starving.
Winona goes on and I recommend reading her entire piece. [Makes one pretty pissed to realize local lumber company Potlatch is such a salt in the wound brand name…] I told my friend: I think all this – and it’s in the “Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” and recent stories in movies – talks about this human (male/dominator/white supremacy/colonial culture) tendency to destroy being the main way we eliminate enemies.. by destroying their food sources, their villages and homes, or taking their lives… this becomes the devastation for those that follow… nothing remains when destruction – or even thoughtless overharvest – depletes completely. We’re apparently far too short sighted a species to make much more than a couple thousand years before we annihilate ourselves… and this time we’re taking a bunch of species with us.
But. Keep hope! (And plan…) it may turn out some of us make it. And enough of us may die… or be sacrificed? I imagine Billionaire Bingo… where each of the 26 richest billionaires get to face trial for their gluttony and convince us that they are worth NOT SACRIFICING because they are going to commit to full time problem resolution with their cash going to good causes. (Of course, this vision requires a planet capable of human survival, so it may be a pipe dream at this point. But hey, a girl can dream!)
Let’s hope those billionaires find their hearts soon. 26 people who could remedy it all… if only they’d share. Perhaps we can put them all on a rocket to Mars to discuss it?
There might yet be time for a peace train after all.