Mike Myers: Don't relax because the Keystone fight isn't over

Tribal members gathered wild rice at Hole In the Day Lake in Minnesota as an exercise of their treaty rights. Photo from Facebook / Honor the Earth

Mike Myers (Seneca Nation) of the Network for Native Futures focuses on a new fight -- the $2.6 billion Sandpiper crude oil pipeline that tribes in Minnesota are trying to prevent from crossing their treaty territories:
The Sandpiper pipeline would be a 610-mile, $2.6 billion pipeline across North Dakota and Minnesota to transport 1.4 million barrels of oil per day from the Bakken region of North Dakota (the fracking fields) to Superior, WI, so it could be loaded onto ships and rail for further transport. The pipeline is being proposed by Enbridge Energy, a Calgary, Alberta, Canada, company, who already operates other oil pipelines in Minnesota and was driving the Keystone development.

Sandpiper hasn’t gotten near as much attention as Keystone because it is wholly within the U.S. That project doesn’t require federal permitting. Just state permitting. And this is where the battle has been, primarily in Minnesota. The focal point has been the Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) that is responsible for issuing a Certificate of Need for the pipeline – which it did without requiring an Environmental Impact Statement.

This forced the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Friends of the Headwaters to appeal this decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. On September 14, 2015, the Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the lack of an EIS violated the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act and revoked the Certificate of Need.

And now the plot thickens, on October 16, 2015, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court asking them to overturn the Appeals Court decision. This move puts Swanson fully on side with big oil and she has the luxury of using taxpayer dollars to fund her side of the fight.

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Mike Myers: Keystone's Not Dead: Don't Relax! (Indian Country Today11/12)

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