Native American Leaders: MN Public To Have No Say In Where Pipeline Goes If Energy Bill Passes

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Native Americans, lawmakers oppose energy bill

Bill Sorem

Native Americans, lawmakers oppose energy bill

On Thursday, April 6, concerned citizens and indigenous leaders came to the Minnesota State Capitol to oppose the Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill’s weakening of environmental review of pipelines.

Rep. Peggy Flanagan said the Jobs and Energy Omnibus bill has a lot in it, and one provision is especially dangerous. That is the amendment introduced by Rep. Pat Garofalo, which “essentially says that the Enbridge company can just come on in and put their pipeline wherever they’d like to put it, without consulting the public, without consulting the tribes, without consulting Minnesotans. And I think that’s wrong.” Flanagan cited the impact of the pipeline on Minnesota waters and especially on mahnomin, the wild rice that is spirit food.

Rep. Mary Kunesh, identifying herself as a proud descendant of the Standing Rock Reservation, spoke about her pride in the people who came together to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline during 2016, and about the need to oppose weakening of pipeline review in Minnesota.

“A bad energy bill”

Video at top: news conference about energy bill
Video below: protest in Minnesota Capitol rotunda

Click here for sharable version of video

Rep. Frank Hornstein said the Jobs and Energy omnibus bill “is not really a jobs bill – it’s a bad energy bill.” He said the bill “really amounts to nothing but Disneyland for the fossil fuel industry. And there’s nothing more egregious than the Enbridge amendment.” He talked about Enbridge’s past record of spills and environmental fines, and said the Garofalo amendment would essentially give Enbridge a blank check.

Eryn Wise of Honor the Earth urged Minnesotans to protect our waters, citing bad behavior of Enbridge in Kalamazoo, when they had a pipeline spill there. She called on the governor to veto the bill.

The House passed the bill 76-55 Thursday. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate passed its version 58-9 March 29. It likely will be left to a conference committee to try to work out the differences between the bills.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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