Well it really has been such a roller coaster the last six months or so of the Line 3 fight. From gearing up excitedly last October when the Valve Turners came for trial to little Bagley, Minnesota to having a bittersweet acquittal. In that same week seeing the IPCC 4th Report on Climate Change and realizing how desperately forked we are because if THEY say we have twelve years to change, that probably really means we have six. And then a torrent of devastating global climate disasters from fires in California to hurricane Michael in Florida to extreme heat in Australia to an abnormally cold and wet Minnesota winter. The stories are daily and never-ending. Here’s some recent footage from flooding in Nebraska along the proposed Keystone XL route. Pretty disturbing. We’re even having to come up with new words to describe the madness unfolding before our very eyes. A friend of mine, Chelsea, posted this crazy event with the following: “Fire tornado, atmospheric river, polar votex, bomb cyclone—we have to invent new vocabulary for the extreme weather events we’re facing as our climate continues to destabilize.”
And if it’s not a climate event, it’s another scientific report confirming the true mess that is unfolding. The latest UN report says we’re now locked in for 3-5 degrees Celsius temperature rise in the Arctic, even IF we hit the agreements in the Paris Accord. A government report showed that Trump’s budget is cutting funds for climate research and renewable energy. And locally it’s reported that Southwest Minnesota lakes are too polluted for swimming or fishing.
But all is not lost just yet. In the last couple days, there has been much to celebrate: A judge in Boston has ruled that ExxonMobil must face charges regarding its terminal at Mystic river. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction on preliminary construction along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, which could possibly delay the start of construction by an entire year. Kids in 123 countries around the world stood up for Climate Action. The J20 charges were dropped, Even Shell asked Trump to NOT loosen methane rules! And there was this wonderful update on the pipeline situation.
Though continued bad news still shows where we need change. From South Dakota Tribes asking the capitol to not fly their flags, representative of the continued assault on the original inhabitants of these lands by colonizers, to the revelation that at Xcel Energy Center, Polymet can have a voice but ticket holders cannot, showing again how the voice of the People is drowned out by the power of Corporations, sometimes it can be daunting.
And in Minnesota, we continue to see everyday citizens stand up and voice concerns about Line 3. In this case, in opposition to the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s recommendation “For safety’s sake, let Enbridge build”, which came on the heels of their endorsement of Tim Walz 100% clean energy plan “Time to move ahead with clean energy”.
How does the board support a project with the environmentally destructive equivalent of 50 coal-fired power plants while backing a carbon-free plan? It raises the question: On what date should we start the weaning process? If you don’t subscribe to the selective science mind-set, the climate science community has laid out a painfully short timeline response: Be carbon-neutral by 2050 or suffer. Suffer a lot. Yet the Editorial Board bases its Line 3 support on a safety issue. Interesting.Jerry Striegel, LTE 3/17/19 StarTribune
My favorite line in the reader response may be from Rami Jubara, “The fact is, suggesting the creation of new fossil-fuel infrastructure that will help put us on track toward making food shortages, floods, heat waves and polar vortices the norm can be called many things, but an argument for safety is not one of them.” But there was also James Doyle’s “But the fourth and best option was not seriously considered: shut down the existing pipeline, don’t build a new one, and don’t allow rail shipment of carbon intensive tar sands oil across our state.”
Luckily, we can still maintain some hope. NPR gave this recent story on what could be.
But THIS is the blog I’d have written if I was smarter. It’s a wonderful summary of the current state on Line 3. While there is some to celebrate, like the lawsuits still fighting all aspects of the Line 3 approval, there is much to give concern as well:
Sen. Paul Utke, R-Park Rapids, introduced SF 1757 to defund the Department of Commerce’s lawsuit. (It passed out of one Senate committee and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.)Healing Minnesota Stories 3/14/19 blog
This blog notes that Canada can’t even get a pipeline built in their own country. And comments: “In Minnesota, sales of finished petroleum products (gas, diesel, fuel oil, etc.) has been declining since 2004. We don’t need the extra crude oil here. There is no reason Minnesota should take on huge risks this pipeline poses for little if any benefit.”
Thank you, Minnesota Healing Stories, for your continued excellent coverage of not just the Line 3 issue but also the many stories on history and current events that highlight Indigenous Peoples.