It seems all great ‘civilizations’ sacrifice their children.
* Some just think he’s a liar. Saying what is politically expedient. Not sure when Peggy was pulled onto the ticket, but perhaps this was his work to entice her? I’m one of those those who see Walz as a political animal with no conscience to prevent him from using any female who comes along when it’s convenient:
Peggy Flanagan – whose voice is being stifled by the administration?
Rebecca Otto – whose hand he grabbed, while holding his four-fingers in the air to assure Erin Murphy would not secure the DFL nomination – as she seemed about to do?
Hope – his own daughter who he used early on to pretend he GAF about our children?
Those are my top three though the list is longer.
I’ve witnessed him ignoring Native women – on their own land – giving them platitudes and dismissing their words. I’ve watched his entire administration seem beholden to a Canadian pipeline builder – as his citizens live in fear of what this drought is going to do to their manoomin (wild rice), their livelihoods, their livestock, their gardens, their children.
Not to mention all our other Relatives – the flyers, the swimmers, the forests, and most importantly, the nibi (water).
Today’s blog is my layman’s summary of my reading of the recent decision by Judge Boasberg denying the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes’ joint request for injunction to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline. It’s a complicated and interesting read and I’ve done my best to summarize what his Order says.
And it’s not exactly bad news!! Just, sadly, more evidence of how our Courts are not geared to make decisions that common sense would dictate. Boasberg seems to give damning testimony to the irresponsible actions of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which I found to salve the wounds of his lawful refusal for relief to the Tribes.
I start with his Opinion, which I recommend reading in full. This guy writes with a concise beauty that I enjoyed reading. [Note that the page numbers all reference the 5-21-21 Order, unless otherwise noted.]
MEMORANDUM OPINION Just like the Dakota Access Pipeline, which meanders over hill and dale before carrying its crude oil underneath Lake Oahe — a large reservoir on the Missouri River between North and South Dakota — the current litigation has wound its way through myriad twists and turns. Last year, in a hard-earned victory for the American Indian Tribe Plaintiffs whose reservations lie nearby, this Court found that Defendant U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [USACE] had violated federal law by failing to produce an Environmental Impact Statement before granting Defendant-Intervenor Dakota Access, LLP an easement to run the pipeline under Lake Oahe. The Court subsequently vacated that easement and ordered the pipeline emptied of oil until the Corps could complete the federally mandated EIS.
Wasting no time, both Dakota Access and the Government promptly appealed to the D.C. Circuit. In a partial win for the Tribes, the Court of Appeals affirmed the two central elements of this Court’s rulings — specifically, that the Corps should have prepared an EIS and that the easement was properly vacated in the interim. The Circuit thus confirmed that the pipeline was, in legal speak, an unlawful encroachment on federal land.
It was there, however, that the Tribes ran out of luck. Prior to the cessation of any oil flow, the Circuit stayed and eventually reversed the aspect of this Court’s order shutting down the pipeline, reasoning that it had not made the necessary findings for what was essentially injunctive relief. In other words, although vacatur of the easement rendered the pipeline an encroachment on federal property, vacatur could not itself bring about the stoppage of oil. For that to occur, the Court of Appeals clarified, this Court needed to conduct an additional, distinct inquiry, a component of which requires the Tribes to demonstrate that — among other things — they will likely suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an order closing the pipeline.
As a result, for all of the headlines and controversy that this litigation has spawned, its tangible consequences for the pipeline itself have been few. Even though this Court vacated the easement for DAPL to cross beneath Lake Oahe, and even though the D.C. Circuit affirmed such vacatur, the pipeline has maintained operations as if none of these developments had occurred. Those seeking an explanation for the persistence of this surprising state of affairs over the past ten-odd months need look no further than the Defendant in this case: the Corps.
Ever since this Court’s vacatur order in July 2020, and across two presidential administrations, the Corps has conspicuously declined to adopt a conclusive position regarding the pipeline’s continued operation, despite repeated prodding from this Court and the Court of Appeals to do so. On the one hand, the agency has refrained from exercising its enforcement powers to halt Dakota Access’s use of the pipeline, notwithstanding its status as an unlawful encroachment. At the same time, however, neither has the Corps affirmatively authorized the pipeline’s occupation of the area underneath Lake Oahe per the process contemplated in its internal procedures. Its chosen course has instead been — and continues to be — one of inaction. Such indecision, it is important to note, does not stem from a lack of time. Nor from a lack of attention. Whatever the reason, the practical consequences of the Corps’ stasis on this question of heightened political controversy are manifest: the continued flow of oil through a pipeline that lacks the necessary federal authorization to cross a key waterway of agricultural, industrial, and religious importance to several Indian Tribes.
Those Tribes thus find themselves forced to return to this Court to seek what they have so far been unable to obtain from the Government: an order halting pipeline operations until the Corps completes its new EIS. Before the Court may grant them such relief, however, binding caselaw requires that the Tribes make an evidentiary showing far beyond anything the Corps needs to itself shut down DAPL. As previously mentioned, they must demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury from the action they seek to enjoin — to wit, the pipeline’s operation. For the reasons articulated in this Opinion, Plaintiffs have not cleared that daunting hurdle.
The Court acknowledges the Tribes’ plight, as well as their understandable frustration with a political process in which they all too often seem to come up just short. If they are to win their desired relief, however, it must come from that process, as judges may travel only as far as the law takes them and no further. Here, the law is clear, and it instructs that the Court deny Plaintiffs’ request for an injunction.
The decision by the USACE, that an EIS was not necessary for this project, all the Courts agree was a violation of NEPA. The Courts also agree that the Dakota Access pipeline is currently operating upon an illegal easement. So what went wrong? The historical review of the case is laid out clearly.
Judge Boasberg ordered the pipeline to be vacated within 30 days while the issue was remanded:
“Although it acknowledged that “at least some immediate harm to the North Dakota oil industry should be expected from a DAPL shutdown,” the Court determined that the “seriousness of the Corps’ NEPA error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates” collectively outweighed such negative economic effects.”
Acknowledging that the pipeline now constituted an encroachment, the agency (USACE) explained that its “general policy is to require removal of encroachments and restoration of the premises.” … That outcome was not inevitable, though, as another option available to the Corps — called an “outgrant” — would authorize Dakota Access to use the government-controlled property as it did prior to vacatur, thus effectively issuing it another easement. As the agency admitted, however, that process was subject to the strictures of NEPA, the very statute under which this Court had ordered the preparation of an EIS before any such easement could be granted.
The Corps additionally maintained — without citing any authority — that it was under no obligation “to take any particular action to cure an encroachment within a specified time period” or even “to ultimately cure the encroachment at all.” … It estimated that it would make an “initial decision” as to a potential enforcement action against the pipeline by early October 2020, though it emphasized that it retained the “enforcement discretion to adapt its enforcement recommendations based on new information” at any time.”
The judge goes on to discuss the absurdity of the USACE response to these concerns. His utter frustration and disbelief with this USACE situation seems to rage from the page. He cries out against the audacity of the USACE in their dereliction of duty. He notes, “October, meanwhile, came and went without any word from the Corps regarding its promised “initial decision” as to a potential enforcement action.” (Page 8)
On January 26, 2021, the DC Circuit Court “affirmed this Court’s top-line conclusions that: 1) the Corps’ decision not to prepare an EIS violated NEPA, and 2) the easement should be vacated pending such statement’s completion.” (Page 9)
The DC Circuit held that the Corps violated the National Environmental Policy Act (EPA) by issuing an easement allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to transport crude oil through federally owned land at the Lake Oahe crossing site without preparing an environmental impact statement despite substantial criticisms from the Tribes.
The court rejected the Corps’ and Dakota Access’ contention that the district court applied the wrong standard by relying on National Parks Conservation Association v. Semonite, 916 F.3d at 1083, which emphasized the important role played by entities other than the federal government. The court explained that the Tribes’ unique role and their government-to-government relationship with the United States demand that their criticisms be treated with appropriate solicitude. The court concluded that several serious scientific disputes in this case means that the effects of the Corps’ easement decision are likely to be “highly controversial.” The court also noted that, although the risk of a pipeline leak may be low, that risk is sufficient that a person of ordinary prudence would take it into account in reaching a decision to approve the pipeline’s placement, and its potential consequences are therefore properly considered. The court affirmed the district court’s order vacating the easement while the Corps prepares an environmental impact statement. However, the court reversed the district court’s order to the extent it directed that the pipeline be shut down and emptied of oil.
Wow. I was with them until that last line… which I cannot seem to make sense. Their rationalization?
“With or without oil flowing,”accordingly, “the pipeline will remain an encroachment, leaving the precise consequences of vacatur uncertain.” (Page 9)
And, rather than making the simple and agreeable decision to shut down the flow of oil – you know, the stuff that risks a spill… as an empty pipeline does not risk a spill – the DC Circuit Court said, “(Judge Boasberg’s) Court “could not order the pipeline to be shut down without . . . required making the findings necessary for injunctive relief” under the traditional four-factor test.” (Page 9)
While the DC Circuit Court tossed this back to the USACE, they would soon submit a 60-day request for continuance, with the change, in January 2021, to a new administration…
When the long-awaited hearing finally arrived on April 9, 2021, however, the Corps — despite the instruction from both the Court of Appeals and this Court, as well as its own continuance request — had surprisingly little to say about the pipeline’s encroachment status. Indeed, far from issuing the contemplated “prompt” determination as to how it would “enforce its property rights,”… the Corps’ decision appeared to be that it would make no decision at all. According to Government counsel, “[T]he Corps is in a [sic] essentially continuous process of evaluating the status of the encroachment and what steps are best to take.” … While the agency would “continue monitor[ing]” the pipeline and could “take an enforcement action at any time,” it had “no . . . enforcement action to announce” at present nor any “timeline” for such potential action moving forward. … At one point, the Corps seemed to acknowledge the possibility that it might not even decide how to enforce its property rights prior to completion of the judicially mandated EIS (currently estimated for March 2022).”
Well, imagine that. The Army Corps can just lazily do nothing and it doesn’t seem a damn thing we can do?
Judge Boasberg notes that while he “ordered the Corps to clarify its position on whether an injunction should issue. … The agency’s response was less than decisive.” He closes the background section with what I felt was a telling statement: “With this long procedural history in tow, the Court is finally prepared to rule on the Tribes’ request for an injunction.” (Page 11)
Boasberg goes on to explain some of the legal details on a threshold argument and on what is required to prove an irreparable harm. In order to pass that test, a plaintiff must convince the Court:
that it has suffered an irreparable injury;
that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury;
that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted;
that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
Boasberg further clarifies:
The Supreme Court “has repeatedly held that the basis for injunctive relief in the federal courts has always been irreparable injury and the inadequacy of legal remedies.” (Page 13)
“Because [plaintiff] has made no showing of irreparable injury here, that alone is sufficient for us to conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion by rejecting [plaintiff’s] request.” (Id.)
“[T]he injury must be both certain and great; it must be actual and not theoretical.” (Id.)
A mere “possibility” of future harm is insufficient. (Page 14)
…a court, rather, requires affirmative “proof” of likelihood and imminence. (Id.)
Additionally, “the movant must show that the alleged harm will directly result from the action which [it] seeks to enjoin.” (Id.)
Three “kinds of injuries, each of which they claim independently qualifies as imminent irreparable harm and entitles them to permanent injunctive relief” were submitted by the Tribes. The Judge deals with the first at length and the others with greater “dispatch”. (Page 15)
Threat of Damaging Oil Spill
Plaintiffs’ principal claim of irreparable injury derives from the threat of an oil spill underneath Lake Oahe. … That reservoir, as previously mentioned, provides the Tribes with water for drinking, industry, and sacred practices. In order for them to realize any harm from a pipeline leak, however, a series of contingent events must occur: 1) a spill under Lake Oahe; 2) of sufficiently large size; 3) the oil from which rises 92 feet from the pipeline to the bottom of the lake; and 4) which cannot be sufficiently mitigated or contained either before or upon entering the lake. See DA Opp. at 11. Simply itemizing that causal chain suggests the fundamental problem with Plaintiffs’ irreparable-harm argument: they have not established, as they must, that any of the chain’s individual components — let alone the feared end result — is “likely,” as opposed to merely “possibl[e].” …Without such showing, of course, they cannot demonstrate the probability of a damaging DAPL spill at Lake Oahe sufficient to warrant injunctive relief.”
Boasberg goes on to review that previous court findings concur that the risk of a spill at this site is low and that, due to the age of the pipeline, the “Plaintiffs’ own experts” agree that the chances for spill were higher at start-up. He also notes that the suggestion of concern at the DAPL proposed expansion to double its throughput is not an imminent concern. (Page 17) Boasberg mentions a prior ruling on a case of similar circumstance: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, however, found such assertions insufficient to establish irreparable harm because the plaintiffs ‘have not shown that a damaging oil spill is likely to occur.'” (Page 19) He concludes that, while the filing did “win the Tribes a remand for preparation of an EIS under NEPA on the ground that such issues made the easement approval “highly controversial,” … it does little to establish a likelihood that the Tribes will suffer imminent, irremediable harm at Lake Oahe from the pipeline’s continued operation.” (Page 20) As well, he notes the “Court of Appeals has since made clear that this Court may only order an oil stoppage upon finding that (among other things) the Tribes will likely experience irreparable harm absent such relief. The prior vacatur holding has little relevance to that question.” (Page 21) He notes also:
Although the potential injury may be significant, the Tribe must show that it is probable to occur in the absence of the preliminary injunction it now seeks. . . . This is the burden the law imposes for this form of relief. The Court must faithfully and fairly apply that standard in all cases, regardless of how high the stakes or how worthy the cause.”
Over the next few pages of the Order, Boasberg goes on to make clear that the Court is not able on the submitted evidence to determine or calculate the likelihood of an imminent or irreparable spill and that “the law requires the Tribes to make a “clear showing” that such harm is at least “likely” in the absence of an injunction. … All they have shown, rather, is a mere “possibility” of injury — and a fairly minimal one at that. This cannot get them over the hump. No matter the stakes and no matter the cause, courts may not grant the “extraordinary remedy” of an injunction “based only on a possibility of irreparable harm.” (Page 24)
Other Claimed Harms
Apart from the risk of a damaging oil spill, the Tribes assert two other harms that require somewhat less discussion. They maintain that they are irreparably injured by “the ongoing trauma of the government’s refusal to comply with the law,” as well as the “undermining [of] the Tribes’ sovereign governmental role to protect their members and respond to potential disasters.”
While Boasberg finds “Neither tack finds the wind,” it seems to me there could be ample argument for these harms. His case is based on the fact that “The problem with both is simple: they depend on the same remote threat of a pipeline spill that the Court has just found insufficient to constitute irreparable injury.” (Page 24)
While the Tribes arguments focused on arguments based on emotional distress that results from a fear of a spill – which, having a low probability of occurring, cannot justify a reasonable concern in this case. Even when the Tribe “claim that “allowing the pipeline to continue operating despite a serious NEPA violation is part of a pattern” of “‘historic trauma’” experienced by “‘every Tribal member,’” one deriving from the government’s “continued refusal to respect the rights of the Tribes throughout the nation’s history” and its “prioritizing non-Indians” at the expense of Tribal members,” Boasburg argues that this “does not qualify as irreparable harm within the context of this case. … [as it] cannot be meaningfully disentangled from the remote threat of an oil spill at Lake Oahe.” (Page 26-27)
The Court does not deny that shameful past. On the contrary, it fully acknowledges and appreciates the “tragic history of the Great Sioux Nation’s repeated dispossessions at the hands of a hungry and expanding early America,” along with the persistent “threat that new injury will compound old.”
Plaintiffs’ second claimed harm founders for similar reasons as the first. According to the Tribes, “[T]he Corps’ NEPA violations have undermined [their] sovereign governmental role to protect their citizens, respond to disasters, and mitigate harm.” … It soon becomes clear, however, that these governance-based harms are once again derivative of the same speculative spill-risk harms handled above.
One final aspect I find a bit confounding. On page 28, Boasberg notes: “Finally, DAPL itself does not implicate any “loss of sovereignty over Tribal land,” … as the Lake Oahe segment traverses only federal property.” Here I’d argue that ALL LANDS are Tribal lands, though I’m sure there is some legalese that refutes this as well, making my argument illegitimate. [With laws written by the colonizers, those same folks who brought to you deceptive and relentless treaty negotiations, it seems the Tribes are given no option save to declare war on a foreign nation?]
Boasberg redeems himself to me – and places the blame for this situation fully in the hands of the USACE – in this summary of his conclusion that he must deny the relief sought:
It does not reach that conclusion lightly. Fully aware of the unshakable indignities visited upon the Tribes across generations, the Court, as it has throughout this litigation, scrutinizes the record with care. It likewise acknowledges the quandary in which Plaintiffs find themselves and the undeniable frustration that comes with it — namely, having achieved (and successfully defended on appeal) the vacatur of a key pipeline easement, they must now turn around and make an even steeper showing to obtain the injunctive relief necessary to stop the flow of oil.
The Court closes this analysis where it began: with the Corps. Plaintiffs, no doubt, will wish that the Court’s Opinion today had come out differently. Simply by ruling, however, the Court has at least given them something the Corps has not: a decision. Notwithstanding repeated instruction from this Court and the D.C. Circuit to “decide promptly” and “in the first instance” how it “will enforce its property rights” vis-à-vis the pipeline’s encroaching on federal land at Lake Oahe, the Corps has not yet issued any determination on the matter at all — more than ten months since the invalidation of the underlying easement. … Much like the Circuit, this Court presently “ha[s] no occasion to consider” whether, by way of such inaction, the Corps has effectively granted “a de facto outgrant without engaging in the NEPA analysis that the Corps concedes such an action requires.” Id. For now, it suffices to note that by ducking the controversy surrounding the Oahe crossing, the Corps actively tolerates DAPL’s continued operation underneath a key federal waterway that it lacks the necessary authorization to traverse. That, of course, is a political decision outside this Court’s area of inquiry. Whether the Corps formally acknowledges such decision or not, this is the outcome it now owns.”
So we can all cross our fingers and hope for the best!
I should include also, the Judge’s mention of the Tribes’ request for clarification on the 408 Permit “(which the Tribes now maintain “indisputably relied on the invalidated environmental assessment” and thus cannot stand.”) (Page 30) In this instance, the Tribes failed “to explain why vacatur of the Section 408 permit would yield that result, as a “Section 408 permit, rather — much like the MLA easement — simply denotes the Corps’ approval of Dakota Access’s plans to site the pipeline on federal property,” and potential vacatur of said permit also would not bring a shutdown of operations. (Page 30-31)
It’s clear to me that the Judge seems to believe the US Army Corps of Engineers has violated NEPA, however, as the DC District Court ordered against the shut down of the line and that his court had no capacity to do so without proof of imminent and irreparable harms, which he could not do with the information provided, his hands are tied.
I truly believe it broke his heart to write this Order.
There is still a possible option. President Biden could ask the USACE to uphold their Treaty responsibilities and do what is right, honor the voices of the Native Peoples asking for relief. Give them relief, if only until the Corps can complete the EIS. It’s the right thing to do.
In Early February, 33 Democrats wrote to Biden, urging him to close down the pipeline, stopping it from transporting crude oil between North Dakota and Illinois.
“By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries,” they wrote….
In a statement, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) focused on Biden’s infrastructure proposal, claiming that it has a “major oversight: it neither acknowledges nor strengthens tribal sovereignty.”
“Congress and the Biden administration must know that recovery cannot take place until Tribal nations are the ones making the decisions about projects that impact their peoples and their lands,” IEN stated.
By that title, I refer both to the corruption associated with the pandemic as well as the possible eruption of disease we are potentially about to see in the U.S. You know, like India is seeing now?
Much of this blog is a consolidation of recent data and expressed ideas in my daily FB posted COVID updates. I’m simply trying to wrap my mind around what I’m reading and digest it into what it might mean going forward. It’s all just my speculation on the interpretation I have of the data I access, presented to you for comment, feedback, idea generation, something to share (or simply to laugh at…), as the case may be.
So what’s happening of late?
I’m noticing that while MN continues to push vaccinations, we seem to have peaked on folks getting them. What this means for disease spread is far from sure, as becomes clearer below.
While some may be surprised to see this trend of Minnesota vaccine figures waning, you can count me NOT shocked. With the complete failure by the government to be honest about the data and transparent about the backrooms deals, all while we see continued actions of white supremacy throughout agencies and in the legislatures and courts… I’m surprised as many people TRUST the vaccines as do.
Though I get the calculation of risks that lead many to secure them, I’m not sure these folks all have access to vaccine data (or personal experience) that might change their minds, were they only aware of it. I’m simply operating on the precautionary principle and I realize my privilege of being a hermit in the woods is a big part of what allows me to do so. I also realize it means that folks who choose to only associate in person with vaccinated people will be out of my life physically… for a while at least. Which was something I was pretty geared for since… well, really over a year ago, so… sad but not unexpected.
There are many with valid concerns regarding these “emergency use” vaccines. We have turned our entire global population into a human experiment… with unknown repercussions to come. Already coming, in fact.
No surprise, I guess, as humans have long decided about asbestos, farming with chemicals, PFAS, and other bows down to human science (without regard for natural repercussions), which have brought similar problems… Simply something I’d hope we can all consider as we each make our own decisions about whether or not to be vaccinated. Let’s be less judgmental and more compassionate perhaps? Not so all-knowingly confident… as we lack real data to hold such confidence?
While Minnesota seems to be banking on a downward trend in figures as they happily vaccinate more of their citizens, I’m afraid their planning figures for PPE may be a bit short, if instead we continue to see hospitalizations rise. As can be seen in the tables, Minnesota is banking on supplies lasting for at least another 52 days. However, I see a couple problems with their data that might indicate a less than fully prepared plan.
First, let’s talk about the basis of their plan. As of April 2nd (nice they didn’t use April Fool’s Day but…) our managers are banking on the PPE levels in this graphic. We’re looking at 114 days worth of face masks, 105 days of face shields, 124 days of gloves, 156 of gowns, and 290 of N95 respirators. Those figures are based on a baseline usage from August 2020. They even halve those figures – if we happen to get to 2X baseline usage, which is how we get to “at least” 52 days (with the limiting factor being face shields). Note that we have ZERO days on hand awaiting delivery for face masks, gowns and N95 respirators while we have 3 days of face shields and 12 days worth of gloves awaiting delivery.
On the whole, this seems a really great plan, eh? Well-thought out with a doubling of the baseline usage to – we assume – conservatively estimate the planning and, possibly facilitating ordering plans as well? Well, if August is a good baseline of usage, this makes sense. Let’s see if it does.
In August 2020, we were seeing an average of 10.2 ICU and 41.7 hospitalizations each day. So, if we were at even 20 ICUs and 83 hospitalizations, we’d be in good shape using this as a basis, right? However, if we get back up to November usage figures of 39.3 ICUs and 230.9 hospitalizations, we’d be at 3.9X and 5.5X the usage of August. So definitely underestimating our needs. Currently, we’re averaging ICUs of 1.7X and hospitalizations of 2.3X August 2020 figures (17.4 ICUs & 95.4 hospitalizations daily for April 2021). If trends continue for less hospitalizations, Minnesota will be ok.
However, if things take off – as we’ve seen in India – and if Minnesota returns to November levels of hospitalizations, we’d see a less rosy picture. If we halve the prepared supplies again, (to simulate an immediate uptick to a 4X rate of use), Minnesotans are looking at less than a month’s supply on face masks & shields, just about a month’s supply on gloves and gowns, and about a 2.5 month supply on N95 respirators. With almost nothing in the pipeline awaiting delivery. Yet, if we see that happen, perhaps there are no plans that might be sufficient.
And how are our Minnesota hospitals doing to remain prepared? Well, not as good as one might hope.
MN maintains 101 ICU beds and 702 hospital beds over May Day weekend.
Staffing capacities show more than 60% of hospitals are unable to maintain expected capacities for ICU or regular bed support.
With the many variants, I’m not sure that MN is taking a proper precautionary approach… especially with many vaccinated still finding themselves infected… and even in some cases dying. While some call it propaganda, this information on vaccine development, testing, and concerns has been enlightening. I find the “propaganda” of mainstream news, alt-media, and even late night hosts poo-pooing the use of Ivermectin to be just as concerning… though I’m guessing some (having been indoctrinated by the mainstream media narrative over long months) will simply think me “crazy” for it. Even the NIH is re-considering Ivermectin FFS.
I’m more into digesting the science, examining data, looking at how cells and viruses function than simply listening to talking heads (paid to please their sponsors) and believing what they have to say. Especially when the data is so readily saying the opposite of what those talking heads are implying? It’s not just 6 people with blood clots, folks.
As of April 20, the CDC had reported a total of 7,157 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people and 88 deaths. However, as of April 26th, that rose to 9,245 cases and 132 deaths – an increase of 29% in cases in less than a week and 50% increase in deaths. Additionally, the CDC figures on April 13th were 5800 cases with 74 dead – meaning we’ve seen a 59% increase in cases and 78% increase in deaths for vaccinated folks in less than two weeks. Not good trends…
Something to watch closely as it appears to affect women at a higher rate. I’m wondering what the stats are on people of color, though those are not broken out in the CDC reporting.
The data on vaccination by race is an interesting review for MN. [scroll down for the state-by-state table] From what I can tell in a quick review, Minnesota has vaccinated more whites proportionately than other races (perhaps to be expected in a white supremacy focused society), though Asians seem to get a fair swing at accessibility. Regardless, death counts appear best for Asians, worst for whites (my guess would be that this is due to complacency and obesity… regardless of accessibility to health care) and, of course, there is NO DATA for the Indigenous to this land. FFS.
Overall, things are tentative from my perspective. And if Tim Walz and his administration still plan to allow a bunch of pipeliners to return from out-of-state in coming weeks, I’d say we better prepare for the worst.
The Clearwater County Sheriff does an exemplary job of traffic control and safety presence in multiple events along Becida Road (ClearWater County 40). He arrives at gatherings for ceremony and celebration at the Mississippi River Valley and engages with the public there in a friendly way. He shows up alone, in a simple Sheriff’s SUV, and quietly protects and serves watch over the event.
In comparison to confrontational actions we’ve seen in Aitkin County at the second Mississippi River crossing on the proposed Line 3 pipeline route, Sheriff Halverson provides a comforting law enforcement presence that assures people an ability to peacefully engage in their First Amendment rights.
Intelligent policing involves a focus on de-escalation and equitable protections. Sheriff Halverson provides a great example of good policing in maintaining a peaceful presence. He does not escalate with an over-the-top police response for a simple traffic control situation on a not so busily travelled roadway in the quiet part of his county.
Thank you, Sheriff Darin, for your kindly humane and intelligently implemented law enforcement techniques. I look forward to you maintaining a peaceful presence at the little bridge over the Mississippi.
If you want to give Darin a thank you for his effective law enforcement, perhaps we can encourage more to follow his lead.
You can reach Darin at 218.694.6226 or email@example.com or
So, a friend posted on FB about an upcoming hysterectomy and how she’d like art on the theme of the Uterus, which she would soon be without, as part of that process. Always up for a challenge – especially an art challenge – I gave it some consideration.
I’d recently had my own uterine adventure… a bit of a scary one – but nothing serious in the end. [Mostly just another reminder that I seem these days to sometimes be losing my mind.] So I felt some kinship with wanting to give a little love to my uterus as well.
I decided a pendant project might be just the thing. If I could find rocks that were “uterine”… or at least could artistically be imagined into uterine-like artworks, I’d give it a go. I had just been out berry picking a few days earlier and found a cute little black rock (that I thought might be representative of a uterus no longer in use). When I initially spotted the rock, I thought, “Ah, a heart rock!” When I pulled it from the earth into my hand, it was more square. But… flipping it over, I discovered a sweet heart on it’s bottom! [Unfortunately, this was simply mud and would wash off as I further prepared the stones. 😦 ]
Alongside a couple others I’d selected from my stash, I moved forward with my project plan. I found a THICK heartish shaped stone that felt “healthy” to me. Then I found a bit larger and less vibrant, yellow tinged, stone for my “menopausal” uterine representation. But I felt something was missing. I felt like, if this was a healing project, it needed some additional focus on healing.
So I found another stone that depicted a troubled uterus, a uterus in despair. I made this pendant first, praying for all those who deal with these concerns. I used black wire to reflect the toxic world in which humans now live, a world that is likely resulting in our broken uteri and failing reproductive systems… ecosystem wide. This pendant has a very simple back with almost no adornment and simple features on front with a center glimmer heart and colorful blessing seed beads around the jasper head bead of health and passion, a stone that brings the courage to face unpleasant tasks and to rectify unjust situations.
I next moved to the healthy uterus pendant wrapping it in golden wire and including an abundance of glimmering seed/seed beads surrounding the head bead – a shell, representing water, a requirement for life. Two prominent rose colored beads give a nod to femininity and the interior of the top beading hides a precious pearl at its center. The entire piece is pink with life.
I moved on to my menopausal uterus stone, wrapped in silver wire, and with a skull head bead indicating the ending of life-bringing work. She retains a slight pinkness of life and wears a crown of pearl, again for water, though her seed beads are white and clear, no longer filled with the blood of life. Still a Queen, nonetheless.
Finally, I wrapped the stone that began it all. Purple wire, for her royal years of service. Dark beads of mystery and fluorite for a link to universal consciousness… Spirit. The bead choices resulted in some fun – a face appeared as I worked to add femininity with wire wraps. Though seriousness remains with the darkness hiding the fun until you look more closely. The deep glossy black head stone is crowned with and supported by deep purple iridescent seed beads.
The little “mouth” bead actually flips out from the pendant like a little blue claw. [I hope it lasts. Kind of a risk though I like it for several reasons.]
I’ve kept the Menopausal pendant but sent the other three to my friend to do with as she sees fit. I was thrilled to read about her idea, challenged to ponder it, healed by working the pendants to life, and honored to be a part of a bigger healing work. This woman, so rarely encountered in real life these three years I’ve known her now… but ever present in so many ways, has brought such love and light and blessing to my life. I am grateful for the gift of her friendship and the paths I’ve found with, and because of, her.
Well, for all the lock-down we’ve had, we ventured into entertaining of late. We entertained a neighbor couple Saturday evening, where the porch allowed a long evening of mostly masked conversation, with each couple enjoying their own festive cheese platter – totally failed to get early photos in all the prep and precautions.
There was one trade of beers and some shared spirits were poured. We used multiple spoons – to allow as little re-touching of items as possible – as scoops of hummus, artichoke dip & cheese dip were plunked onto dishes. Brownies were sent home. [Too much focus on beer and spirits!]
We were able to enjoy beverages, carefully share snacks, and converse (masking when we were in close proximity and when we weren’t eating or drinking). We’ve done this kind of entertaining before, with a bit less food sharing, and have found that masked interaction seems to give good protection as we’ve so far seen no apparent COVID-19. I do believe mandatory masks would go a long way toward getting us ‘back to normal’. [Though most of us realize now that we’re never going back to the old ‘normal’.]
The brownies that remained were carefully placed onto a serving dish for Sunday visitors. An older couple – who Dan & I have long admired as pioneers to our own escape of the rat race – came for their first ever HARN visit! What a thrill.
Daughter and grandson chauffeured their trip and we all had a masked chat – first visitors INSIDE the HARN since March! We’re a week out now and all feeling good, so fingers crossed we were safe enough with our visits in Days of Corona.
Some will say we are being over cautious and some will wonder why we let someone in our safe home space bubble. We know visiting is a risk and take precautions to minimize risk. Because we live very cautiously on a daily, some who are also taking extra precautions feel our space is a safe place, in a time when it seems no place is safe.
I did not hug my 80+ friends though we threw distant hugs and gave big huge smiles that felt almost as good. I did hug my neighbor – with both of us masked and looking aside. It was great to hold someone for a bit that wasn’t Danny!
I have always been a hug person so this thing has been especially rough. It’s so hard to not just hug people but… we are very careful. While we feel we are taking risks, we’re doing so with people who also live very protected lives in Days of Corona. I guess that had been the big change for us. We basically don’t interact with folks who aren’t using precautionary principles.
The keys for us are:
Masks in proximity
Avoiding the careless (those not respecting SARS-CoV-2)
Careful eating protocols (limited options & prevention of interactions)
Not too often (allowing time to assess health after interacting, not entertaining until our town trip is shown to leave us “safe” again)
HOLY FUCK. This is BIG. Giving the Floor to AG Ellison today. The Press Conference was pretty sweet; starting and ending with citizen farmer testimony from Martin Nelsen and Winona LaDuke. Rolling Stone covered it too.
AG Ellison sues ExxonMobil, Koch Industries & American Petroleum Institute for deceiving, defrauding Minnesotans about climate change
Claims violations of state and common law regarding consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, misrepresentation, failure to warn; seeks injunctive relief, restitution, and corrective public education campaign
Minnesota joins growing list of states and local governments holding fossil-fuel industry accountable for decades-long ‘campaign of deception’
June 24, 2020 (SAINT PAUL)—Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit this morning in Ramsey County on behalf of the State and its residents to stop deceptive practices related to climate change and to hold ExxonMobil Corp., the American Petroleum Institute, and three Koch Industries entities accountable for perpetuating fraud against Minnesotans.
The lawsuit includes claims for fraud, failure to warn, and multiple separate violations of Minnesota Statutes that prohibit consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, and false statements in advertising.In addition to an injunction barring further violation of these laws,the complaint seeks restitution for the harms Minnesotans have suffered, and asks the Court to require defendants to fund a corrective public education campaign on the issue of climate change.
Minnesota joins a growing number of governments that are seeking to hold companies responsible for harms associated with climate change. While defendants and claims vary among jurisdictions, at least 15 other plaintiffs have brought similar lawsuits to date. Plaintiffs include the states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, along with cities and counties throughout the country.
“When corporations and trade associations break the law and hurt Minnesotans, it’s my job and my duty to hold them accountable. The fraud, deceptive advertising, and other violations of Minnesota state law and common law that the lawsuit shows they perpetrated have harmed Minnesotans’ health and our state’s environment, infrastructure, and economy,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison.
“Impacts from climate change hurt our low-income residents and communities of color first and worst. The impacts on farmers in our agricultural state are widespread as well. Holding these companies accountable for the climate deception they’ve spread and continue to spread is essential to helping families to afford their lives and live with dignity and respect. It’s only fair that, as our complaint states, ‘the parties who have profited from avoiding the consequences and costs of dealing with global warming and its physical, environmental, social, and economic consequences, bear the costs of those impacts, rather than Minnesota taxpayers, residents, or broader segments of the public.’”
The complaint asks the court to require these companies to use wrongfully-obtained profits to help Minnesota pay for the devastating consequences of climate change. Attorney General Ellison is asking for these companies to disgorge profits and to “fund a corrective public education campaign in Minnesota relating to the issue of climate change, administered and controlled by an independent third party,” and that defendants “disclose, disseminate, and publish all research previously conducted directly or indirectly . . . that relates to the issue of climate change.”
The complaint describes how these companies strategized to deceive the public about climate-change science in order to safeguard their business interests. It was uncovered only starting in 2015 that internal experts in the field of climate change at these companies were issuing warnings to company leaders about what was coming. But rather than warn the public, as was the companies’ duty, the complaint details a multi-pronged campaign of deception that the companies and API conducted over the past 30 years.
During this same period, ExxonMobil and Koch earned hundreds of billions of dollars in profits while Minnesota shouldered the costs and consequences of unmitigated climate change.
Minnesota has a history of holding companies accountable for misleading the public. Under former Minnesota Attorney General Skip Humphrey, Minnesota prosecuted Big Tobacco for violating many of these same statutes. Doug Blanke, who worked on the tobacco litigation and headed the Consumer Protection Division while he was at the Attorney General’s office, and now directs the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, thinks that Attorney General Ellison has a strong case. “Misleading the public about science is not a new concept,” he explains. “Unfortunately, some companies seem to care more about their bottom lines than the public’s health. But it’s a violation of Minnesota law to mislead consumers about the products you sell, and the Attorney General has laid out a powerful case that these companies did exactly that.”
Sam Grant, executive director of MN350, added, “As we come together to hold American Petroleum Institute, Exxon, and Koch Industries accountable in this consumer-protection lawsuit, it is important to be mindful that the harm caused by their bad corporate behavior is not evenly experienced. Here in Minnesota, it is our populations of color — particularly our urban African American population and our American Indian population whether urban or rural — that face the most grave health disparities, disparities contributed to by corporations that have knowingly deceived the public, distorted the science, and made tremendous profits while causing irreparable socio-environmental harm.”
“Our future generations count on our actions today,” explains Winona LaDuke, director of Honor the Earth. “As fossil-fuel companies like Exxon twist laws and deal in carbon across the world, people and governments are stopping them. I’m proud that Minnesota is stepping up.”
Juwaria Jama, the state lead for Minnesota Youth Climate Strike, explains how young people feel about this action: “As generation z, we have known about climate change ever since we were born. As children, we were told that we only had a few years to act until our future could be stolen from us. Now as teenagers, that reality is clearer. We are spending our time fighting a last-minute battle to preserve a livable world for ourselves and future generations because corporations like Exxon knew the impacts of climate change, but continued to deceive the public for decades. Exxon chose profit over people. It’s time they’re held accountable.”
Impacts and costs of climate change on Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, from 1951 to 2012, Minnesota’s climate warmed faster than both national and global rates of increase, with average annual temperature increasing by 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, since 1960, the rate of climate warming in Minnesota has increased from 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade from the 1890s to the 1950s to 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit per decade beginning with the 1960s. These and otherstudies lay out many of the impacts of climate change on Minnesotans’ health and Minnesota’s environment and economy.
Pages 57–70 of the lawsuit also detail some of the many impacts and costs that Minnesota has incurred and will incur as a result of climate change that has gone unchecked and unregulated because of the defendants’ 30-year campaign of deception.
So I’d heard that there was going to be a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Contested Case Hearing (CCH) on the Line 3 project. Being busy with racial justice concerns of late, I’d missed reading about it and kind of left it laying until a friend told me, on June 16th, that there was a hearing happening. A hearing about which I had heard nothing. A hearing that was happening… the next day.
While some of you may think, “It’s not like the MPCA owes you a written invitation, girl!” and I get that notion, it just seemed a little disturbing to me that the workings of the MPCA seemed a bit clandestine regarding the proceedings.
So, as directed, I went to the MPCA website for the Line 3 project and found the June 3rd Order from MPCA. It didn’t seem important to the MPCA to communicate – electronically or via mail – to these people regarding the upcoming hearing…
The order issued June 8th on the June 17th pre-hearing conference was only distributed to a few people… A notable exclusion on the list was Paul Blackburn who has been integral to the Line 3 process for some time now, which would have been evident to many of us as a shortcoming to be redressed. But, the “by the letter” MPCA, failed to include him. [Another examples of how it is time to revisit our ‘law and order’ system… as it no longer serves the People.]
The detail on the memo?
Having been informed of the pre-hearing conference via friends, I decided to listen in… as did several other Petitioners who were also not informed but happened on the information through the grapevine. It’s almost like they forget a movement of thousands of Minnesotans are watching their every move. And keeping up – as we can – with their antics.
I was pleasantly surprised by the happenings in the pre-hearing conference and regret for those in the movement unable to attend. But I gave them an update via FB afterwards. Seems citizen journalism is about the only place you can get coverage for this project…
ALJ LaFave noted that we will have a 2PM conference on this June 23rd – THAT IS TOMORROW, FOLKS – as this phone hearing stuff is really unmanageable.
He appreciated the parties working in advance on a proposed schedule but saw it as perhaps too tightly packed at the back end… raising concern. LaFave suggested moving the hearing dates up a week or so as he’d like at least 30 days for the writing of his recommendations, “given what I expect will be an extensive record”.
He noted this CCH is NOT one to determine whether the MPCA should issue the 401 Cert. This CCH is specifically limited to 5 issues of fact ID’d by PCA in its 6/8 order (you remember, that one that only a few attorneys got – not even all the attorneys on the case – and not all the Petitioners who petitioned for the CCH).
LaFave proposed WebEx to allow for SD (social distancing for those of you not yet familiar with my acronyms) and a wide range of public to observe. [YAHOO!!! Not so exciting was his continued reminder that the public has no voice in these proceedings.]
There was time spent discussing court reporting pursuant to MN 1400.4700 subpart 2 and LaFave STRONGLY URGED the MPCA to host a website (noting public interest in this case and his belief that a public website explaining what the hearing is about, issues to be decided, and a forum where folks can access info about the case) to add to transparency.
Asst AG Oliver Larson didn’t imagine this website was going to be an issue. And more discussion ensued about the Court Reporter situation. It was decided that the work will require multiple court reporters to summarize the testimony in a timely manner for the ALJ. Also decided that the out-of-state attorneys would have to file pro hoc vici, but no local rep would be needed.
Paul Blackburn reminded the ALJ that Mr. Bibeau is speaking for White Earth and he was speaking for Honor The Earth and should not be combined for response. The ALJ acknowledged thisand Paul continued, noting an objection for not noticing this hearing to the public in any way. He noted that he understand only people who got notice were parties who successfully submitted petitions but cited MN Statute 1400.6200 part 1 – which says ANY PARTY can intervene or petition to intervene. He noted if only 5 know about it, there is no way for citizens to learn about this unless a party sends them the notice. He asked that the MPCA should consider this notification process. And the judge responded: “Thank you. Enbridge?”
Christy Bruzven for Enbridge said she had a couple items to discuss next week – and asked for a protective order for info that needs to be covered under the MN Data practices act. No special provisions. Std protective order… preemptively issue it so discovery can begin.
ALJ LaFave said if the parties submit for my signature… I’ll sign. [K. this is where it got juicy.]
Oliver Larson noted he would have conversations with Enbridge – noting this is a “sticky wicket” because the MPCA wants to keep open to public as much as possible. Not sure a pro forma order will be good for all parties. [THANK YOU, OLIVER! I was glad to see your name in this thing and it seems you continue to speak for the people.]
JLF: Good to know.
CB: Anything you want to give parties to facilitate a smoother discussion?
JLF: Just got it about a half hour ago – back end of schedule looks tense/packed. CLEARLY disagreement by some parties on how long this hearing will last. Think that my guidance would be to consider moving hearing dates up b/c I think with doing this hearing on WebEx v. LIVE, experience of colleagues so far is they tend to take longer than if live and in person. Would ask parties to give this some consideration. Brief look at proposed schedules – that is what struck me.
So, when did I hear about all this? As a Petitioner for a Contested Case Hearing? Here’s what I got from MCPA’s Katrina Kessler, WELL AFTER the pre-hearing conference had concluded:
Katrina attached the 6/3 notice of the Contested Case Hearing, but not the 6/8 hearing notice. I was so infuriated that I decided to respond:
Not a good day for Chicks… in my book. Really expected women to be leading the way on this but am being sadly disappointed by the women at MPCA. And don’t get me started on cold as ice Sarah Strommen… who apparently cannot muster the strength to end a DNR contract with a Nazi aficionado at Itasca State Park [let alone provide a personal response to my concern on the issue to her]. Perhaps it does take some cajones. Glad I earned a pair in the steel industry.
So what can you do? Witness the proceedings. Help to keep the agency accountable to the people of Minnesota. And see where that takes you.
The June 8th and now the NEW First Prehearing Order are available from the MPCA. You can access the call here with a Meeting ID = 126 887 2175 and a passcode = f2RqmPD63pT. [Assuming their system works. It looks a bit sketchy to me but my recent experience is likely guiding that.
Note: If you try to go to the link from the MPCA doc, it is might not work… didn’t for me. I had to type in the address myself – which is linked above.
Good luck, everybody. And, if you’re still sticking with the game, thanks for playing.