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?
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.
Below are my comments to the DNR on their permitting process for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3. Please feel free to submit your own comments via this link. Deadline is May 17th @ 4:30 PM. You can also post comments via mail (postmarked by May 17th) to: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Line 3 Replacement Applications 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155
I am writing to request that all permits for this deadly pipeline be refused. The very process of submitting public comments itself is daunting, requiring one to select the specific area of concern, which would indicate one was well-versed in the technical breakdowns of the federal and state laws. Why can’t we simply comment on the fact that this pipeline poses an existential threat to life on earth as scientists have clearly stated that TAR SANDS MUST STAY IN THE GROUND if we hope to have A VIABLE PLANET FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE??? Yes, locally, the spills it has, which we know it will – ALL PIPELINES LEAK – will endanger our water. Yes, we know it is a violation of Treaty Law – the highest law of the land – as it endangers their traditional way of life from worship to sustenance to livelihood. The pipeline is already creating havoc in the environment – that Indigenous people maintained for millennia and we colonists have largely destroyed in only a couple centuries – as trees are clearcut for the new corridor.
And this constant assumption by Enbridge that they will get their way – pipes are staged throughout the region and clear cutting has begun even before the DNR or MPCA have given their approvals – is just another devastating effect on the people and environment of this proposed Line 3. The hurt has been ongoing for years now. PLEASE STOP this ASAP with a denial of all permits. Enbridge’s desecration of Minnesota must STOP.
The very process of DNR’s public information campaign – with webinars only provided days before comment periods close – seems geared to not include real debate and discussion at the citizen level. And it seems the agency may be poised to simply rubber-stamp the permits for fear that “Enbridge will sue” if they do not. When did Enbridge become the sole decider for Minnesota’s future? A foreign oil corporation that is rapidly losing financial backers, has a horrible safety record, and currently operates a deteriorating pipeline that Minnesotans live in daily fear of rupturing should be determining what we allow in our state? REALLY???
It is time for thoughtful and SCIENTIFIC consideration of this situation. And if we do that, the answer will be to tell Enbridge to go packing.
Science has shown that we have a decade to determine if humans will work with an Apollo-program or WWII level of dedication to save our planet, or if we will continue with business as usual and drive ourselves into extinction, as we have driven countless millions into extinction before us. Yes, extinction happens naturally, but the human involvement with this planet has created a thousand-fold increase in extinction rates and we are now closing in on assuring our own extinction.
Enbridge has made clear that safety is not its #1 goal. Making money is its #1 goal. Their massive failure in Marshall, MI should be a sign to Minnesota that they cannot be trusted. They failed to act when the alarms sounded, assumed them to be false, allowed a huge failure to continue long after people on the ground had reported it. Then, post failure, they did all they could to cover up damaged areas, only doing a more complete clean-up when ordered to do so after being found to have done an insufficient job. Is this REALLY the company to whom we want to risk the last of Minnesota’s clean waters?
Line 3 proposes to cross the apex between two major North American watersheds, pristine national forest land as well as countless rivers, streams, and wetlands in Minnesota. In short, Line 3 risks contaminating the water for our whole region – the water which makes life in this region possible – with toxic tar sands sludge. Line 3 brings a host of other risks to our public lands including but not limited to: soil erosion and degradation, spread of undesirable species and disease through waterways, and damage to sensitive ecosystems and species. And finally, they continue the practices of giving the worst of our industrial dangers to the most oppressed and disenfranchised among us, our First People, our Indigenous. The US has failed time and again to honor Treaties, the highest law of the land – on a level with the US Constitution. It is high time we factor in the agreements we made to those who allowed us to share their land, usually agreeing only with force from the government which offered them no alternative. It is time we honor the people who showed they have an ability to protect the land, water, trees, wildlife, and plants for millennia. We should look to them for guidance on how to truly protect and manage our environment for sustainability. Our governmental agencies have failed us again and again in this effort. In case you need a refresher, look to the 1970s when we made massive changes to clean up the environment we had largely pillaged due to allowing corporate and monied interests to rape our environment at will.
I am writing to urge you to deny Enbridge its Utility Crossing Licenses, Work in Public Waters Permits, and all other permits currently under review. As the DNR, it is up to you to protect the pristine public lands, waters, and wildlife upon which all life and livelihood in this state depends. I urge you to see that Enbridge would only jeopardize all of that, and make the right decision not to grant them the necessary permits.
We need your strong leadership in your true charge: The mission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is to work with citizens 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. The citizens have spoken loudly and clearly – 94% of the public comments were in opposition to Line 3 – and we continue to try to voice concerns but the government agencies seem geared to simply push through Line 3 and allow Enbridge whatever they wish. As I read the definition for the DNR Commissioner, it seems we may be in trouble. Per 84.027, “The commissioner shall have charge and control of all the public lands, parks, timber, waters, minerals, and wild animals of the state and of the use, sale, leasing, or other disposition thereof, and of all records pertaining to the performance of the commissioner’s functions relating thereto.” This sounds like the Commissioner is merely in charge of selling off Minnesota’s resources and keeping record of who gets the spoils.
I have imagined that most Minnesotans believe the DNR is responsible to protect the citizens and environment of Minnesota, though many up here in rural Minnesota seems to have a negative opinion of the DNR. Perhaps I have judged them too harshly for their condemnation. Perhaps the DNR has given them much reason for distrust as the directive for the Commissioner does not seem to have any responsibility to the citizens or environment of this state. It seems the directive is to “manage” the use of our resources and, based on what I’ve seen since moving here, it seems the highest bidder gets to decide who wins.
I would hope that the People of the DNR would prevent a multi-national from running roughshod over our state and, in the process, doing further environmental damage to our planet as a whole. The science on Tar Sands is clear – they require almost as much energy to extract as they deliver for use, they are damaging the environment where they are extracted and the environment all along the route to move them to their offshore destinations – including the oceans and air, as well as the lands and waters that are crossed – only to be burned releasing 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude. The answers are clear to me. YOU ARE SCIENTISTS. You must stand with the tens of thousands of Minnesotans opposed to line 3 and STOP LINE 3 NOW. We are all human beings. If we hope to save ourselves, putting our planet first must be a priority.
Your work to Stop Line 3 NOW could save thousands of taxpayer dollars that have been wasted thus far on the Enbridge proposal and instead divert these much-needed funds to creating a green economy, a clean energy future, that might just allow our grandkids the same breathable air and drinkable water we have enjoyed.
Please do the right thing. Do all you can to DENY ALL PERMITS for Enbridge’s proposed Line 3. The future is counting on you.
In the ongoing saga of the Sandpiper/Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline of Enbridge dreams, we are facing another unexpected road block. Well, it’s not a road block really, more of a detour. While back on the campaign trail, then-Congressman Walz showed opposition to Line 3, we’re not so sure where he’s going to land now that we’ve given him the job as Governor. Below, I explain why.
You may recall that the MN Department of Commerce (DOC)
filed a lawsuit (late in then-Governor Dayton’s term) against the Public
Utilities Commission for illegally approving Enbridge’s Line 3 Tar Sands
pipeline. The DOC noted: “Enbridge did not introduce, and the Commission did
not evaluate the accuracy of, a long-range demand forecast for the type of
energy that would be supplied by the proposed facility.”
Proof of demand was required in order to justify a
Certificate of Need (CoN) be approved by the PUC. The PUC did approve the CoN and, subsequently
approved the Route Permit while stating that they did “not believe the climate
science” brought by the Youth Climate Intervenors and other groups who are
adamantly opposed to building a New Line 3.
This line would be the first of many as Enbridge moves all
its oil pipelines OFF the Leech Lake Reservation where Enbridge’s easement ends
in 2029. Their newly approved route
would be a new corridor, destroying hundreds of thousands of plants and
animals. With the fossil fuel industry
in its death throes, it seems illogical to invest in a bunch of new
infrastructure that will not end up serving its lifetime and will likely be
left as Enbridge slides into insolvency.
So why did the MN Court of Appeals decide to dismiss all the
appeals? Well, it’s a legal technicality
thing. The PUC (against normal
practices) divided their approval into two parts – basically because Enbridge
came to the last meeting with a bunch of extra promises to push their proposal
over the line for approval. (Sad part is that none of these offerings is enough
to mitigate the damage their pipeline brings as the CO2 equivalent is the same
as 50 coal-fired power plants being installed in Minnesota.)
The now-dismissed appeals were filed against the PUC approval from June but the Court is saying the REAL decision to appeal was the one the PUC finalized in January (during Walz’ term). (Sadly, this approval was on a value of insurance liability that will not cover the needed losses should we have a catastrophic failure like the one Enbridge had in Marshall, MI years ago. God forbid we have such a major spill. It will be impossible to remedy. But we all know… ALL pipelines leak.)
So, the Court of Appeals noted that they would waive the filing fees. They were surely expecting all the parties to re-file their appeals with the court. To do so, the first step is filing a Petition of Reconsideration by Tuesday at 4:30 PM. (This merely gives them the option to re-file their appeal; it does not require them to do so. Thus, this could turn into a longer waiting game…)
However, Walz is looking awful wishy washy on Line 3. As one of his first decisions made in office was to ask the new DOC Commissioner to “review” the appeal to see if they still wanted to pursue it, he seems to be pushing to FAST-TRACK Line 3. One can only assume that he’s doing this to pay back laborers for their support during his campaign. However, far more jobs are available in the green infrastructure we’re going to need to transition away from fossil fuels, as directed in the IPCC’s October Report.
A full-court press has been in progress with MANY Minnesotans calling the Governor’s office the past few week. Walz had promised to meet with advocacy groups regarding Line 3 before he made his decision but, other than a rumored meeting Friday afternoon with unknown Tribal representatives, he has not yet done this for any groups. Perhaps he’s meeting with pro-pipeline groups, but none of the anti-Line 3 groups that I’ve heard from have had an opportunity to meet with Walz to date, though I have watched the multiple requests made by MN350 during livestreams. The Transition Team months ago and now Walz’ Administrative Team more recently have both promised the group that a meeting would happen… but no. Not yet.
Tuesday will tell if The Great and Powerful Walz will have Dayton’s Backbone or Enbridge’s Money, as my friend Brian recently commented. If you want to make a last minute call, you can reach him at 651-201-3400 (toll free at 800-657-3717).
I truly hoped to send hand-written letters but I find that the electronic communications offers so much more opportunity to share links to data which I feel are crucial in this issue of deciding whether or not to allow Enbridge, a foreign corporation, to install a new Line 3 pipeline to carry risky Tar Sands through our precious watersheds so they can sell it offshore.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been giving me hope ever since the first DEIS hearing on Line 3 in Rice Lake. It was there that I met two MPCA folks and I wish I’d kept better notes to tell you their names but I believe Willis Mattison was one contact. It was made clear to me that the New Line 3 would have to receive permits from the MPCA in order to be approved for build. As we spoke of the dangers of Tar Sands and the importance of the Mississippi River watershed, I got the impression that the MPCA could very well find reason to not approve a pipeline crossing under the Mississippi River or traversing through wetlands, the most dangerous places for a Tar Sands pipeline regardless of what the fossil fuel industry says. This MPCA permitting process has been giving me hope during the 18 months since that June day.
The DEIS meeting was an enlightening experience. I was horrified with the lack of concern given to Indigenous rights that was presented by the DOC. Jamie MacAlister herself explained to me that Tribal Resources were NOT being given priority consideration in this DEIS. The fact that a people’s way of life – the very people who gave us rights to this land nonetheless – was of no more importance than a Canadian corporation’s desire to make mere money was beyond my comprehension. I was sickened by the thought of all those Tar Sands coming through along a new 220′ wide and hundreds of mile long corridor of destruction through our state. I have since learned of some of the destruction done to the land even before they begin putting pipe into the ground – the trees that are turned into sawdust and ground into the dirt, the beings quietly hibernating whose lives are cut short by these preparations. [Watch the Press Conference video link below to hear Doug Rasch’s eloquent but ominous description of the pipeline construction process, one he watched on his property when the Koch brothers line was constructed.] But I was inspired to hope that day by the PCA reps in attendance. I can’t recall now if I wrote thank you notes to them, as I’ve since done with Bill Grant and the DOC more recently. I am hopeful that you have their names so you can give them a pat on the back for their representation there. I believe they were also present at the DEIS in Park Rapids the next day.
But more importantly I fear for the very viability of our planet that a new Line 3 would threaten. It is clear if you watch the news in the last 60 days that information on the rapidly (much more rapidly than even predicted) deteriorating planet we inhabit. From the loss of insect life and annihilation of wildlife to the shifting climate zones and the overwhelming costs of drought, fire, flood, and storms, it is clear we are running out of time to act. Rather than add NEW fossil fuel infrastructure, we need to be dialing back on the use of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The IPCC says we have about a decade to save ourselves.
The MPCA has the ability to scientifically show that a new Tar Sands pipeline has no place in Minnesota, especially considering the Next Generation Energy Act and Renewable Energy Standard that was signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007 and is helping drive Minnesota as one of the most progressive in this transition time away from fossil fuels. This is why I moved from Indiana to Minnesota in 2014 – to live in a place where it seemed progress based on science and morals was happening. A place where education was important because critical thinking matters. A place where the environment was not a resource for exploitation but an interconnected part of human life, critical for not only sustenance but also for solace.
I write now to strongly encourage you to DENY the 401 permit needed by Enbridge to continue its assault on the planet. Together we can stop Line 3 from being built in our fair state and we can help prevent the extraction of Tar Sands which must remain in the ground for planetary viability. The majority of citizens oppose the new Line 3. We are not paid by Enbridge to support the pipeline like many of those are who shout for Line 3 approval, all wearing their matching green t-shirts. We are scientists, engineers, parents, educators, and others who are voluntarily giving our time and energy to oppose Line 3.
I am hopeful that your work will include transparency to the public, including a chance for public notification of your findings and a place and time for public feedback on your conclusions. I understand this will bring a possibility for pro-pipeline opinions but I am confident in the science to prove their economic arguments carry no weight when compared to the devastation Tar Sands are already causing for our planet. I am hopeful that, as scientists, you will give due consideration to the evidence, rather than deferring to Enbridge’s statements which basically request that we trust them without skepticism, even if their data is vague, unproven, and/or untrue. Please consider giving full transparency to the public on this vital decision. As many comprehend, economic opportunities mean little if we don’t have a safe place to live.
Bill McKibben makes it plain in this 4 minute video, which notes that in less than 15 years – ten now as this video was from 2013 [and this figure was recently confirmed by the IPCC report] we will have used ALL the gigatons of C that will take us past 2 degrees Celsius for the planet’s warming. We must leave the Tar Sands in the ground if we hope to have a planet that is livable for our grandchildren. And his more recent article explains this situation from a current perspective.
We need scientists, using critical thinking, and being unmotivated by dollars from industry, to assure that we are making the best decisions for our state. Please do all you can to STOP Line 3 from becoming a reality. Your recent posting about the We Are Water MN exhibit in Bemidji indicates you understand the importance of protecting water. I am counting on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to help prevent a disastrous Tar Sands Pipeline and the chemicals it would contain from bringing devastation to our state. From the perspective of Treaty Rights, the rights of our Youth for a livable planet, and the health and safety of our people, our animals, plants, land, air and water, a new, bigger Line 3 makes no sense.
The MN Public Utilities Commission met on Tuesday, September 11th, Patriot Day, to discuss Enbridge’s compliance filing to the conditions of the Certificate of Need for their proposed Line 3. And there were Patriots for the Land present in full force. Many wore cloth signs pinned to their backs.
As the proceedings began, these Patriots turned their backs to the PUC Commissioners to display their messages signifying that they felt the PUC had turned their backs on the Public in deciding unanimously that there was a Need for Line 3. My favorite was probably “Public Utility Cowards” indicating the Commissioners are people who lack the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.
I would have to agree. The Commissioners did turn their backs on the Public, opting instead to grant a foreign Utility company access to push Tar Sands sludge, and all its poisonous constituents, through the clean land and pristine waters of Minnesota’s North Woods and Lake Country. I decided I would write letters to all five of these Commissioners to let them know of my disappointment. Here’s some of what I told them.
You are responsible to the PUBLIC. More than 90% of the letters have been in opposition, surely nearly 100% of the volume of input, as many of the pro-pipeline comments were simple pre-printed postcards and very little of anything written to the PUC from that side had any scientific or technically sound detail, much of it being simple aping of the Enbridge hyperbole. Yet, you continued to question those in opposition much more critically. All the while, taking Enbridge at their word, assuming they were being honest and forthright.
I’m sure Ms. Brusven and Mr. Swanson (Enbridge representatives) are very nice people and believe what they say to the PUC. But, as Upton Sinclair once wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” The company they represent did all it could to minimize and delay the cleanup in Michigan and has not done enough to maintain their Line 3 pipeline to the point that now, it’s a horrible mess. Enbridge has one of the worst records for safety in the industry. Yet, you have unanimously granted them a Certificate of Need.
You are supposed to be an intelligent group of individuals. [A requirement of being appointed is that a Commissioner must be “learned in the law, engineering, public accounting, property and utility valuation, finance, physical or natural sciences, production agriculture or natural resources”. I would expect a scientific, discerning approach, especially from Matt Schuerger, the sole engineer on the PUC.] Yet, as one attorney noted, it was surreal for you to accept the premise that Enbridge can build a perfect new pipeline but when they tell us they can run the current Line 3 safely, you don’t believe them. You (specifically Commissioner Dan Lipschultz) talked about Enbridge holding a gun to your head. THERE IS NO GUN! If Line 3 is SUCH a hazard, then it is Enbridge’s responsibility to SHUT IT DOWN. They have said they will run it if they do not get the new Line 3. If it is so prone to leaking that it is hazardous to continue operations, it is THEIR responsibility to assure they stop using it before a catastrophic spill, Not Yours.
Commissioner Lange said she asked herself how she would feel if she woke up in 5 years and had voted “no” and there was a leak. What she didn’t ask herself was how she’d feel when there is a spill in 6 months, before anything was done to shut down or replace Line 3. Nor did she ask how she’d feel if her daughter miscarried her grandchild because of benzene exposure directly related to an oil spill. As she won’t likely be living near the Rez where so much of this pipeline runs, perhaps there is no validity for such a concern. The June 28th decision will result in more deaths for us and our Indigenous friends and neighbors. The cancer rates in this area are abnormally high already.
The way the Youth Climate Intervenors were patronized was appalling. The body language and condescending tone should have been my first clue the Public Utility Commissioners were predisposed to Enbridge, not the Intervening Parties. It disgusted me to see the PUC dismiss them without shame… these kids who are working just as hard as any of the other legal teams, all while not getting paid. They are literally fighting for their lives… for a planet that will be for them, at least what we have today. A watershed that isn’t poisoned with Tar Sands.
Science has made clear that 80% of the remaining fossil fuels MUST remain in the ground if we are to avoid massive climate change that will render our planet unlivable. In addition, ALL Tar Sands oil must remain in the ground, not only because it has only a 3:1 return of energy (at best) but because when it burns, the result is so much more devastating than burning regular crude. By failing to prevent this Tar Sands pipeline, the Commissioners are directly dooming the people of Minnesota to extinction, likely before our grandchildren’s grandchildren are able to decide if they want to bring another generation into whatever world remains. It’s hard to comprehend you could make this decision while a group of Youth Climate Intervenors, young people who will be most affected by these decisions, sits in each hearing, each meeting regarding the Line 3 proceedings.
You also decided to eliminate RA-03 from consideration, a slap in the face to the Indigenous. Especially after it was clearly the route they all preferred, as you clarified with multiple rounds of tantalizing questioning. You asked them to choose a route in an idealized unreality where the pipeline would never leak. And then you ignored RA-03 as a possibility after they unanimously preferred it.
Each Commissioner should be asking how he will feel when Enbridge’s New Line 3 fails catastrophically in 2026 (or sooner) and spills 210,000 barrels, like the new pipeline in South Dakota did last November. Will you feel then like you protected the people of Minnesota?
How will you feel as you watch on the evening news as Minnesota Law Enforcement, financed by Enbridge, throw Minnesotans to the ground as they protest this pipeline in accordance with a higher law than man’s law… because they see their duty to protect our water and our planet? How will you feel when they spray our citizens with water in below freezing temperatures? Or when they face us with dogs and automatic weapons? How will you feel when people are injured or killed in these police actions that the PUC itself assured would be covered by Enbridge funding? Does it make it OK if the Canadian company pays for the police instead of the Minnesota taxpayers? Or if Enbridge’s private security forces are the ones perpetrating these actions, as long as the contractor is licensed in the state of Minnesota, of course?
While Commissioner Tuma put on a good show of being concerned about those voicing their first amendment rights, his question about whether Enbridge would financially support the requirements for law enforcement at the construction sites sounded more to me like Winona LaDuke has phrased it: “Will you finance the brutalization of Minnesotans in order to get your pipeline in, Enbridge?”
In addition, his linking of a sex/drug trafficking fund with the fund to deal with on-site situations leaves me fearing that there will be nothing for the former and all spent on the latter. At present, I see no evidence in the record that there will be anything that will prevent the Applicant from doing exactly what they did at Standing Rock with their collaborators Energy Transfer Partners.
In conclusion, I let them know: Perhaps you can justify your decision as being outside your job description, but I will be fighting this Line 3. I will fight for our children, our grandchildren, our water, our plants, our animals, our planet, our future. I will even be fighting for you. I just wish you would have done more to help me in this fight.
Please write to Governor Dayton at 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. #130 in St Paul, MN 55155 or call 651-201-3400 to let him know you do NOT support Line 3. We need every citizen if we expect to stop this foreign company from poisoning our water.