It’s been a pretty rough week. Last Tuesday, we got notice that the Minnesota Court of Appeals sided with the PUC’s decision-making in denying the Red Lake and White Earth Bands’ request for a Stay on the Line 3 project. It’s hard to comprehend how we follow Treaty Law and make a decision like that. But from my experience in Minnesota courts to date, there does not seem to be an application of Treaty Law, local Judges seeing themselves only as arms of the State, not the Federal, government. I believe this is an error in judgment. But I’m not fully trained as a lawyer so… what do I know?
There were a whole host of other debacles this past week that have left me feeling beaten down. Hopeless in moments, disturbed in others, darkly sad and alone in many others. When it rains, it pours. So, overall, a pretty rough time.
It’s been a hard couple months but I haven’t felt so much like just walking away from it all in a while. Trouble is, how does one walk away from accountability to the land, the trees, the water, the animals? I truly don’t think we’ve got much chance remaining to really save ourselves as a species. Though I focus on helping and not harming as much as possible these days, in hopes of leaving more for those who remain after us. Some weeks are more successful than others.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking pieces of the puzzle of dismay in the last week, was the sinking of a piece of Enbridge equipment in the LaSalle Creek Aquatic Management Area just south of us. We got word from a friend who’d seen the iNewzTV coverage. I was concerned about the person, in fact, so concerned that I’m surprised he was treated and released, one bit of good news in the last week. I was telling a friend Sunday, some things are so horrific, you are better off not recovering. Based on the reporting, it seemed this might be one of those cases. It reminded me of a friend I had who survived an explosion with pretty severe burns over a large portion of her body. She spoke of not wanting to survive. Dan too speaks to his own struggles in surviving his burns. While the physical pain was the driver in the beginning, in a society where trauma is not acknowledged and superficial beauty is so valued, pain is not the only concern as time passes. Some of those scars can last a lifetime.
Nonetheless, a bigger piece of my sad this week is for the beavers who were affected by this equipment failure. The pipeliner was trapped in the equipment and could not be freed. [Um, OSHA anyone? Perhaps some quick release latch on the plexiglass enclosures for emergency submerging situations? FFS has no one ever thought of this before?]
According to a report from iNewz.TV, the vehicle’s shatterproof plexiglass windows made it difficult for workers to free the victim, forcing them to break a nearby beaver dam in order to lower the water level inside the cab.”Line 3 pipeline worker rescued after being trapped underwater DECLAN DESMOND UPDATED: FEB 7, 2021 ORIGINAL: FEB 7, 2021
No mention in the coverage on how the beavers fared. And what was the effect on the surrounding environment? Was the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or Department of Natural Resources on site to monitor the releases of oil into the water? Assure proper containment? We will see. My guess is no, based on how little they’ve done to protect Nature and how much they’ve done to accommodate industry in the years I’ve been civicly involved in Minnesota. And what I heard at the MPCA Rule Change meeting Thursday.
Dan and I went to see what we could document and found what appeared to be further work on trying to remove the equipment – at least that was our assessment.
A few years back a neighbor blew a beaver dam. I was shocked. It was early winter as I recall – snow on the ground. Those beavers were left homeless – or dead? – in a time when it would be harsh conditions to find new housing. As I said, perhaps some things are better off not surviving. And here again, we hear no plea for the beavers. No concern for their situation? Perhaps this is why we find ourselves in this mess.
Another Water Protector emailed her own dismay this weekend saying, “Sometimes I wish all the animals could rise up and defend themselves. All at once!” I replied:
I too wish the animals could defend against us. We’re too powerful and destructive. And they are not. That’s not how they live. Or how we should…
Regardless of how things go, we can be very proud of stopping so much of the Tar Sands these past half dozen years. That in itself has helped postpone the end of our species. Perhaps giving enough of us time to awaken, get serious, and listen to the Animals, Plant Nation, Nibi, and Aki.
These are the things that give me hope.
I will close with big thanks to all the lovely Water Protectors who have come to my aid this week in the struggle. We rely on each other in these times of darkness and I appreciate all who have given me support, strength, love, care, and hope. You help keep me sane as I make sense of all that is happening. And thanks also to all the others who brought me love, laughs, or perspective. And those who also are doing good… always an encouragement. I have some cards to make and send…