Justin Trudeau was elected on a promise of a new nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations in which he pledged to “absolutely” respect First Nations’ veto over pipeline projects crossing traditional territories. He has proved unequivocally the emptiness of that promise. His approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline is the final, cynical betrayal to Canadians who voted for real change.

‘Sunny ways’ is over, and it has been for a long time.

He has lost all credibility for seeking reconciliation with First Nations over profits of corporations. He has gone against the popular will of Canadians, scientists, environmental groups, municipalities, the province of BC and the sovereignty of First Nations.

Canada could very well be on the verge of seeing blockades and protests with force that hasn’t been seen since the 1990s with Oka, Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash. A new indigenous coalition created to fight fossil fuel expansion, the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, now has over 100 Indigenous nations and organizations on its list of signatories.

Trudeau and Notley can pretend to care about many things: the economy, jobs, re-election. One thing they can no longer pretend to care about is “reconciliation.”

This is what colonialism looks like.

James Wilt, Federal Liberals Approval of Kinder Morgan Is Final Nail in the Coffin of ‘Reconciliation’

We saw this coming—and it is not over. Tsleil-Waututh Nation has vowed it will do whatever it takes to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline, saying the approval is disappointing, dangerous and just the beginning.

Visit coastprotectors.ca to stand with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs against the expansion of the tar sands.

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (please forward): Individuals from Six Nations and their allies have interrupted work on a section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. The work stoppage began around 10am this morning. Individuals involved asked workers to leave, asserting that the land is Haudenosaunee territory guaranteed under the Haldimand deed, and that Enbridge’s workers were present without consent or consultation. 

“Meaningful consultation isn’t just providing information and going ahead without discussion – it’s giving the opportunity to say no and having a willingness to accommodate.” says Missy Elliot.

“Enbridge left a voice message on a machine with one person. That’s not meaningful – it’s not even consultation.” Emilie Corbeau, there in support of Six Nations points out. 

Those involved intend to host an action camp, filling the time with teach-ins about Six Nations history, indigenous solidarity and skill shares centering on direct action.

The group states that they’ve tried the other processes available to them and here out of necessity. “We’ve tried pursuing avenues with the NEB, the township and the Grand River Conservation Authority. Our concerns were dismissed. What other choice do we have if we want to protect our land, water and children?” Missy Elliot of Six Nations asks.

Under bill C-45 the section of the Grand River adjacent to the Enbridge work site and pipeline is no longer protected. Approximately half a million people rely on drinking water provided by the Grand River.

“This isn’t just about line 9 – or Northern Gateway, Energy East or Keystone XL. This is about pipelines – all of them.” Daniell Boissineau, of Turtle Clan, asserts. “This is about the tarsands and how destructive they are to expand, extract and transport.”

“This is a continental concern. It’s not just a Six Nations issue or an indigenous issue. We share the responsibility to protect our land and water as human beings.” Elliot states.”

anonymous asked:

I think oil pipes lines are important to a degree. Like if it's going to danger the environment and people then no. But if we can as safe as possible make a pipeline then go for it. Opinions?

First let’s address the fact that even if you could ensure that pipelines would not endanger the environment and people through spills, then it would still be the wrong choice. A safe pipeline is still a pipeline adding millions more barrels of production capacity to the oil industry and increasing greenhouse gases in the climate. If we have any chance of limiting climate change to 2 degrees of warming, the maximum to prevent catastrophic loss of life, then we must immediately start reducing our fossil fuel use significantly. This requires that we start right away building infrastructure for and promoting alternative energy sources and reducing our fossil fuel use and infrastructure.

For example, the Line 3 replacement which has just been approved would be a great opportunity to replace an aging pipeline with a massive investment in solar, wind, or any other technology. Instead of twinning Kinder Morgan we could do something similar. What is happening here is that the government is choosing to increase fossil fuel production rather than scale it down and transition away. This is a binary choice, and any new fossil fuel project is a commitment to the wrong direction.

That addressed, let’s respond to the idea that the pipelines being built are safe, something every government is at pains to reassure us, that these pipelines are “state-of-the-art” and that oil companies are extremely careful about monitoring them.

This is a lie.

Pipelines leak all the time (let alone the tankers that carry the oil). The companies that build these pipelines face extremely low fines when this happens, incentivizing them to respond after the fact than to protect against spills. 

If you look at the history of oil companies and specifically the two who have had their pipelines approved (Enbridge and Kinder Morgan) you’ll see that there really isn’t such a thing as a pipeline that is safe for the environment or people


“Over the last 20 years, pipeline incidents have caused over $6.3 billion in property damages. On average during this time period there were more than 250 pipeline incidents per year, without a single year where that number dropped below 220. During that time, more than 2.5 million barrels of hazardous liquids were spilled and little more than half of those spilled amounts were recovered in cleanup efforts.”

Kinder Morgan:

On Trans Mountain: “Since Texas-based Kinder Morgan bought the line in 2005, there have been 13 oil spills totalling 5,628 barrels of crude”

“US regulators have documented over thirty significant accidents and violations in the country associated with Kinder Morgan’s operations. Kinder Morgan pipelines have exploded causing disasters and death. They have paid out millions of dollars in fines and settlements.”

“Here is a list of incidents involving Kinder Morgan’s BC operations in the past several years:July 15, 2005: About 210,000 litres of crude were released into the area surrounding the company’s Sumas Mountain storage facility in Abbotsford, making its way into Kilgard Creek.July 24, 2007: An oil spill occurred along the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Burnaby when a construction crew inadvertently hit the unmarked pipe with an excavator. Almost 250,000 litres (about 1500 barrels) of oil shot out of the ground, soaking a residential neighbourhood and seeping into the Burrard Inlet. At least 50 homes had to be evacuated. (Click to view the BC Ministry of Environment Incident Report)May 6, 2009: A sizeable spill was discovered at the company’s Burnaby Mountain tank farm, with almost 200,000 litres leaking out into the facility.January 24, 2012: A pipeline rupture at the Sumas Mountain tank farm spilled an estimated 110,000 litres of oil. Local residents reported health problems including nausea, headaches and fatigue, and schoolchildren were kept indoors for fear of airborne toxins.April 3, 2012: Another spill in a “containment area” at the Abbotsford Sumas Mountain facility caused nuisance odors and air quality concerns in surrounding communities.June 12, 2013: A leak was discovered on the Kinder Morgan pipeline near Merritt, BC.June 26, 2013: Just two weeks after the spill near Merritt, yet another leak was discovered – this time spilling 17,800 litres of oil at a site near the Coquihalla Summit, about 40 km east of Hope, BC.”


“Using data from Enbridge’s own reports, the Polaris Institute calculated that 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010. These spills released approximately 161,475 barrels (25,672.5 m3) of crude oil into the environment.”

one incident among many: “2007 (November 27th) – Clearbrook, Minnesota – killed two employees. Enbridge was cited for failing to safely and adequately perform maintenance and repair activities, clear the designated work area from possible sources of ignition, and hire properly trained and qualified workers.”

“The year 2010 was a bad one for Enbridge. The total number of barrels of oil spilled was 34,122, the equivalent of more than one million U.S. gallons, including the 20,000-barrel Marshall, Mich., incident in July. Just six weeks after Marshall, another major spill occurred along the same pipeline, Line 6B, at Romeoville, Ill. In that spill, 9,000 barrels, or more than 250,000 gallons of crude, poured into the town’s industrial sector.”

DAPL Oil Interests Try Outrageous ‘Fait Accompli’: Destroying Ancient Sites During Labor Day Holiday Weekend

Energy Transfer Inc. and invested owners of the proposed North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), have begun psychological warfare against peaceful protestors near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. 

So far the People have remained nonviolent in the face of dog attacks on their bodies and their horses, while facing extreme psychic trauma in the form of desecration of graves and sacred sites.

However, on Saturday “sacred places containing ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation were destroyed by Energy Transfer Partners,” Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said in a press release.

Acting as a slap in the face to the judicial process, Energy Transfer Inc., in partnership with the Enbridge Corporation and Marathon Oil, bulldozed a two mile, 150 feet wide path through Native land currently being contested in Federal Court. Irreplaceable ancient cairns and stone prayer rings have been purposely destroyed.

“We’re days away from getting a resolution on the legal issues, and they came in on a holiday weekend and destroyed the site,” said Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. “What they have done is absolutely outrageous.”

The site at the conjunction of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers is not the only historic site at risk. Other culturally and historically significant sites will be damaged or destroyed as the DAPL crude oil pipeline snakes 1,168 miles through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

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Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is a test of our government’s will to inflict violence on indigenous people who are defending their land. Most of BC was never surrendered by its first inhabitants and most of the first nations there refuse to let this project through. I wrote this article to provide background info on this inevitable, government created conflict. Photos via Unist'ot'en Camp’s facebook page.

Read it now on VICE.com

Two years ago today, more than a million gallons of tar sands oil poured into the Kalamazoo River. The tar sands pipeline operated by Enbridge Inc. contaminated nearly 40 miles of the watershed, making it the largest & most expensive spill in the Midwest. 

It is still being cleaned up today. 

“My family was directly impacted by the spill. The toxic fumes gave us rashes, nausea and headaches. By taking a stand against tar sands we are fighting for people’s rights and health. Our River will never fully recover, but we can educate the country about the dangers of tar sands and the disastrous impact this type of spill can have so the same thing doesn’t happen to you.” -Susan Connolly, who lives by the river. 


photos by The Indignants, like them on Facebook

Toxic tour draws attention to environmental impacts

The impact of living in the shadow of Chemical Valley was on the minds of marchers during Friday’s Toxic Tour from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community centre.

Approximately 50 First Nation members and supporters left the community centre parking lot in the early afternoon chanting, “tar sands kill, pipelines spill,” on their way to the St. Clair River, and then on along the St. Clair Parkway to LaSalle Line and east to Highway 40.

“We’re standing in solidarity with other communities who are standing up to fracking and to pipelines running through their territories,” said Vanessa Gray, a spokesperson with Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP).

Police stopped traffic on the parkway when the march paused as several members climbed down the bank to the St. Clair River to make an offering of tobacco to the water, before continuing on.

Among those marching were nine-year-old Faith Rogers James and her mother Christine Rogers.

Rogers said she’s concerned about smells from the chemical industries surrounding the Aamjiwnaang, as well as the impact living next to chemical plants has on her family’s health.

“You kind of question every day whether you should move away or you should stay,” she said.

Rogers said she grew up at Aamjiwnaang where her relatives still live, making the decision of whether or not to stay a difficult one.

“It’s something you struggle with,” she added.

The Ten Imminent Dangers of Enbridge’s Ignored Aging ‘Line 5′ Threatening the Great Lakes

[IMAGE: ‘Line 5′ beneath the Straits of Mackinac showing broken and aged supports. Photo courtesy of NWF.]

With the Dakota Pipeline encampment and protests growing by the day, national attention is mounting, despite a total media blackout. But less well recognized is the mounting danger of an existing set of pipelines in the Great Lakes, which are home to over 20% of the fresh surface water on the planet.

Every day, nearly 23 million gallons of oil flow through two aging pipelines at the heart of the Great Lakes, just west of the Mackinac Bridge. Built in 1953 during the Eisenhower administration, the two 20-inch-in-diameter “Line 5” pipelines owned by Canadian company Enbridge, Inc., lie exposed in the water at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge’s pipelines, which run about 1,000 feet apart at depths ranging from 100-270 feet, have laid on the bottom of the Straits for more than six decades. 

Enbridge installed several support structures under the pipelines in 2006 and again in 2010, following the company’s oil spill into the Kalamazoo River - the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill. 

Enbridge officials have said that properly maintained pipelines can last indefinitely, but the company’s history of major spills in Michigan and across North America proves otherwise. 

Today, much of the oil flowing through the Line 5 pipelines is coming from Canada and taking a shortcut through Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac before crossing back into Canada near Port Huron.

The pipeline has transported toxic crude oil through the Straits of Mackinac without incident until now, but a number of troubling factors are coming together that cause grave concern:

  • A recent increase in the volume and pressure of fluids moving through the pipelines
  • The tarnished safety record of Enbridge, Inc., the Canadian company that operates the pipeline
  • Newly discovered issues of compliance with the contract between the pipeline company and the State of Michigan
  • The age, location, and condition of the pipeline
  • The lack of transparency about safety inspections and what petroleum products are being transported through Line 5 in the Great Lakes
  • The lack of a proactive regulatory environment in Michigan and at the federal level

The Straits, which link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and separate Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from its Lower Peninsula, are capable of generating powerful currents that can create a flow of water more than 10 times greater than the flow over Niagara Falls. The strong underwater currents, fierce winds, and extreme winter weather conditions - sometimes including feet-thick ice cover - at the Straits make them ecologically sensitive and would make cleanup or recovery from a pipeline spill especially difficult.

We all must act now to keep oil out of the Great Lakes. What follows below are the facts, in descending order: 

  1. Two pipelines, not one.
  2. Has no benefit to Michigan, the U.S., nor Native peoples.
  3. Carries especially dangerous ‘tar sands’ crude.
  4. Spilled oil may never surface.
  5. Precipitously suspends a sunken river.
  6. Reckless increase in pressure threatens pipeline integrity.
  7. ‘Line 5′ has more than 700 crack features.
  8. 640 miles of unknown, uninspected pipeline.
  9. Enbridge’s spill response plans will not work.
  10. ‘Line 5′ has a history of failures.

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Haida Clan Strips Chiefs of Titles For Supporting Enbridge Pipeline
One of the chiefs admits he received money from the oil company.

A Haida clan in British Columbia has stripped two hereditary chiefs of their titles because they supported the construction of an Enbridge pipeline that the Nation fought in court.

The two chiefs signed a letter in support of the pipeline, and one of the chiefs told VICE News he met with the company and received per diems, but he believes the issue is being blown out of proportion. The chiefs have threatened a defamation suit for “lies” they say are being spread about them.

On Saturday, in front of 500 people, clan members in Old Massett held a ceremony marked with traditional dances in which the hereditary chiefs were stripped of their leadership, and matriarchs appointed new chiefs in their place. A ceremony like this one hasn’t happened since smallpox struck Haida Gwaii, an archipelago along the coast of northern BC, in the 1800s.

Tensions ran high at the potlatch when a group of five clan members crashed the ceremony in opposition, according to clan spokesperson Ernest Swanson. But three RCMP officers guarded the doors, and a group of matriarchs stood between the potlatch crashers and ceremony organizer Chief Darin Swanson to protect him.

The two former chiefs who were stripped of their leadership, Carmen Goertzen of the Yahgu 7laanas Dadens Clan and Francis Ingram of the iits'aaw Yahgu ‘laanaas and jaanas Clan, didn’t attend the potlatch, saying they weren’t invited.

As the heads of their clans, hereditary chiefs are appointed by family matriarchs and are expected to demonstrate and uphold the morals of their families, including peacefulness and modesty. But in this case, because they went against the wishes of their families, their actions are being taken as a betrayal, according to Ernest Swanson, Darin Swanson’s nephew.

“We have values and morals and we want our chiefs to be prime examples of those values and morals,” he said.

Ernest Swanson said their leadership was revoked because they received money from Enbridge and signed a letter in support of the company’s Northern Gateway pipeline, which the Haida Nation has long opposed because, among other reasons, the influx of tanker traffic would increase the risk of oil spills.

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Standing Rock Supporters May Block Canadian Pipelines: Chief
Nov 27, 2016 (CP) – A Manitoba indigenous chief says there’s a desire for action — which could include blockades of Canadian pipelines and railways — in support of a protest against a N…

Grand Chief Terry Nelson of the Southern Chiefs Organization says chiefs and others attended a meeting Saturday at the Dakota Tipi First Nation near Portage la Prairie to discuss how to react if the U.S. government clears demonstrators from a camp occupied by the Dakota Access pipeline protesters.

Nelson says one option includes blocking access to pumping stations along a pipeline operated by Enbridge, which has plans to acquire a stake in the U.S. pipeline project.

After the meeting, Dakota Tipi members held a pipe ceremony on the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie, Man., temporarily blocking a lane of traffic.

Protesters to be evicted

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to close an area where demonstrators have been camping for months.

Some of the protests have resulted in violent confrontations, including one earlier this week that left one woman with a serious arm injury.

Everything is on the table. And no question the commitment is there. And it will snowball across the rest of the country,” Nelson said in an interview after the meeting on Saturday.

“The people were very clear they don’t want to sit back and allow these things to happen. There was a lot of anger expressed there today.”

The protesters in North Dakota believe the pipeline could harm drinking water and Native American cultural sites. Some Canadians have participated in the protests or have shown support through demonstrations in Canada.

Canadians could target Enbridge

Nelson said there are a number of Enbridge pumping stations that protesters could target. He said if crews can’t reach them, the pipeline has to be shut down.

Rail lines that carry bitumen could also be blocked, he said.

“These are Dakota people. Those are our relatives in Standing Rock.”

“If Enbridge is part of the killing of Dakota people down stateside, then they could become a target,” Nelson said.

“These are Dakota people. Those are our relatives in Standing Rock.”

Enbridge said late last month that it is not yet an owner of the pipeline system which includes the Dakota Access project, but that it is monitoring the situation in North Dakota. It noted its planned investment for a minority equity ownership does not include construction or management of the project.

Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has informed him that federal lands, including those where protesters have been camping, will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for “safety concerns.”

Nelson said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak was also at Saturday’s meeting.

He said Saturday’s pipe ceremony on the highway was short and that RCMP were notified.

My name is Meredith, a Welsh name meaning “guardian of the sea”. I am speaking today to voice my vehement opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project and to share some of my story.

I came to North Beach, Haida Gwaii ten years ago and I stayed because it felt wild and clean and safe. My son was born five years ago in Queen Charlotte Hospital. His name is Fisher because no matter where he goes in his life and in this world, we want his name to always connect him to this land and to this coast, where the health of the sea determines the health of this ecosystem as a whole. Fisher eats regularly from our front yard. He knows when to set the traps for Dungeness crabs, he can dig razor clams with his bare hands, he invents recipes with seaweed and kelp and we brave hurricane force winds at night with headlamps to harvest rock scallops and cockles that wash up in front of our house. Like many children in this community, Fisher is well versed in the issues of pollution and climate change, and he can identify more plants, animals and constellations than most adults. And Fisher is also well versed in the aspects of proactive personal responsibility that go hand in hand with the reactive nature of protest. Our electricity at home is derived from the wind and the sun, we give thanks at meals for the local bounty on our plates, he knows about supporting local economies and bartering, and he doesn’t think that driving around with used vegetable oil in the fuel tank is funny or unusual. He is developing a deep and uncomplicated relationship with his natural world, and his delight is palpable when he makes a new discovery in his surroundings.

He has nothing to fear in this place. This for me is the greatest immediate risk of such a project. That we will have to live with fear, waiting for the morning when we hear that a very large crude carrier has lost its cargo to our coastline. Every winter storm will bring with it a feeling of dread that maybe this will be the day.

Before coming to Haida Gwaii I worked with Greenpeace International for 13 years. In 2002, as crew onboard the Rainbow Warrior, we were called to respond to the sinking of the oil tanker MV Prestige off the coast of Spain. After suffering damage in a storm the ship spilt in half and lost around 20 million gallons of oil, which washed up all along the coastline of Spain and Portugal. We came into port in A Coruna in Galicia where we were met by thousands of angry and desperate citizens, cheering and relieved that someone was finally paying attention to their ongoing struggle against political apathy towards their environment and their source of livelihood, the fishing industry. We picked up some journalists, scientists and activists and set out to find the worst concentration of the spill. As we neared what we thought was the epicenter the captain sent me up the mast to the crow’s nest to keep a lookout for the slick. After hours of searching I finally saw, far in the distance, that the sea state had changed. We were sailing through a heavy chop but a great patch of calm loomed ahead of us. The oil had literally subdued the ocean, made it docile, lethargic and heavy. As we approached the spill our ship was forced, under penalty of arrest, to stay out of the boundaries imposed by the Spanish authorities. After a day of cat and mouse chase we managed to get our small inflatable boats into the area and our helicopter over the spill so that the journalists had a chance to document the images that were broadcast through news agencies internationally. Being in that slick was one of the eeriest experiences of my life. It was as if the ocean was being suffocated. I have never been anywhere since that felt so void of life. This turned out to be the worst environmental disaster in both Spain and Portugal’s history with massive repercussions to both the fishing and tourism industries, and long-term health consequences for many of the people who participated in the clean up.

In 1999 I worked with an African American community in Lake Charles, Louisiana in an area of the states known as Cancer Alley. The town’s population was being decimated by cancer caused by dioxin and other industrial effluent dumped into the Mississippi River. A drive through the impoverished town showed maybe a third of the houses abandoned, not because people were leaving – where would they go? – but because they were dead. I watched old guys fishing on the riverbanks, knowingly catching and eating poisoned fish, clinging to their way of life. The term environmental racism was coined upon the realization that in the US it is poor and marginalized black and native communities that are the innocent victims of unregulated industrial pollution. I have travelled on the Amazon River from Belem to Manaus campaigning and blockading to put pressure on multinationals pillaging the rainforests. I spent weeks in the winter living in a little pod on the ice in the Beaufort Sea during the construction of one of British Petroleum’s undersea pipelines, hoping to illustrate to the world the impossibility of any clean up should the pipeline rupture under seven feet of ice. I have blockaded a US ship in Japan secretly carrying PCB’s for disposal, and a ship carrying newsprint made of pulp from old growth trees from our coastal rainforests, I have blockaded roads leading into pristine watersheds slated for clear-cut logging, I have knocked on doors and marched in cities and signed petitions and written to my MP’s. I have been tear gassed by riot police in two countries and arrested for environmental activism seven times in four countries. I have witnessed the effects of industrial mayhem on five continents.

I have lived and fought for years with grief from the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness trying to stem the drive of industry. I got really tired of fighting so I settled down and found a home. But now this danger is threatening my home and I won’t sit this one out.

I will fight.

My son Fisher is sitting here with me today because I want him to know that I tried. When he helps me raise wind turbines and hook up solar panels for our neighbours, he’ll know that we tried. And when he watches me get dragged off to jail for protesting the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, he’ll remember that I tried. And if that day does come when we have to put on HAZMAT suits to try and clean up the beaches, we will at least be able to say we tried.

With respect to the panel members as individuals, I find it difficult to believe in the relevance of this review process and nearly withdrew my registration to speak. The message I have for you to add to your review is one more resounding NO. But I am not really speaking today to the Joint Review Panel. I am speaking to my community and to my son. I stand in solidarity with all of the voices and stories and promises and opposition that I have heard and read during these hearings, and I will stand in support of the greater movement to protect this wilderness, at any cost.


—  Meredith Adams, my sister.

MIDWEST Enbridge Tar Sands Resistance Tour (WI, MN & MI) April 13th-30th 2015 ‪#‎ENDbridge‬ the ‪#‎PIPEFiction‬ - REJECT BIG OIL / TAR SANDS

Big oil companies are plotting to pump hundreds of thousands of barrels of toxic tar sands through the Great Lakes every single day, threatening our communities, our water, and our climate.

RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/even…/stop-enbridge-tar-sands-tour

If they succeed, it will be a climate catastrophe, polluting some of the largest bodies of freshwater on the planet. But communities across the Great Lakes are coming together to protect our water.

Throughout April, we’re touring the Great Lakes to help build the energy resistance across the region. Click here to find a tour stop near you.

At each stop we’ll hear from First Nations women in Canada fighting tar sands at the source, community leaders & students about the threat Enbridge and tar sands poses to our communities, and we’ll strategize and make action plans for how to stop it.

There will be 15 stops across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Minnesota between April 14th and 30th. It’s not the beginning or the end of the fight – but it’s the next step we need to take together to build the resistance to Big Oil across the Great Lakes.

Click here to RSVP for a tour stop near you and help us stop Big Oil’s attack on the Great Lakes. (https://actionnetwork.org/even…/stop-enbridge-tar-sands-tour)

Here’s what you can expect at each tour stop:

  • Hear stories from First Nations women fighting tar sands in Canada
  • Learn more about tar sands climate impacts
  • Hear from local voices who are fighting to keep tar sands out of the region & learn how you can get involved
  • Plan & strategize about how our communities can work together to build resistance against this dirty & dangerous fuel
  • Help build a piece of art that symbolizes the region’s resolve in fighting for a clean energy future
  • Enbridge is banking on us turning a blind eye while they make plans that will threaten the Great Lakes region. We aren’t going to let them.

Another oil pipeline spill. This time Wisconsin.

An oil spill from a broken Enbridge Energy pipeline in Wisconsin has been contained, the company says, but it could not have come at a worse time for the Canadian company, which is trying to get approval for new pipelines in Canada and the United States. The 1,200 barrel spill happened on Friday near Grand Marsh in central Wisconsin, population 127. Enbridge Control Center operators shut down and isolated the line and deployed emergency crews to the site. Environment News Service (http://s.tt/1k2Gh)


Michelle Rempel, Jason Kenney Tweet About Tim Hortons, Not TRC

Two federal cabinet ministers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on a Tim Hortons controversy this week, but not on a landmark report into Canada’s residential school system.

Alberta Conservative MPs Michelle Rempel and Jason Kenney, both voracious tweeters, jumped into the fray of the #BoycottTims campaign Thursday.

The social media movement began after the coffee giant announced ads for Enbridge would no longer be shown on screens at more than 1,500 locations.

Tim Hortons’ decision was evidently made in response to a petition launched by consumer advocacy group SumOfUs

The move ruffled plenty of feathers, particularly among those in Alberta’s energy sector.

Continue Reading.


This Is How You Shut Down a Pipeline

Today people in so called “Quebec” shut down the valve of Enbridge’s controversial Line 9B pipeline, essentially cutting the flow of tar sands oil to eastern “Canada”

B.C. First Nations serve eviction notice to CN Rail, logging companies and fishermen

VANCOUVER — British Columbia First Nations are wasting no time in enforcing their claim on traditional lands in light of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision recognizing aboriginal land title.

The hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan First Nations served notice Thursday to CN Rail, logging companies and sport fishermen to leave their territory along the Skeena River in a dispute with the federal and provincial governments over treaty talks.

And the Gitxaala First Nation, with territory on islands off the North Coast, announced plan to file a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Appeal on Friday challenging Ottawa’s recent approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta. {more}



“As a woman, I’m a waterkeeper…Being stewards of the earth, moving beyond fossil fuels, is [about more than] sustainability for us. It’s a cultural requirement.” ‪#‎LoveWaterNotOil‬ ‪#‎NoKXL‬ ‪#‎ProtectAndReject‬ ‪#‎OcetiRising‬

Correction: Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this article misquoted Tara Houska as saying, “[Tribal leaders] ended up leading the meeting!” She said, “[Tribal leaders] ended up leaving the meeting,” referring to a consultation between tribes and federal authorities in Rapid City, SD, during which Sioux representatives walked out.

You can follow Jake on Twitter @jakeflanagin. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

On Feb. 24, president Obama vetoed a congressional bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. Although the debate surrounding the project was widely seen as a conflict between environmentalists and industrialists, the case also raised important questions about one of America’s oldest bad habits: trampling on indigenous rights.

The Rosebud Sioux, also known as the Sicangu Lakota, reside on a reservation that includes all of Todd County, South Dakota, and additional lands in the four adjacent. That land, originally encompassing all of South Dakota west of the Missouri River, was entreatied to the greater Sioux nation in 1851 and 1868, but has been gradually reduced to its current boundaries by decades of territorial whittling by the federal government. Only in 1934 were the Rosebud Sioux officially recognized as a self-governing nation—see the Indian Reorganization Act (pdf)—and thus formally allotted ownership of land that, prior to the arrival of European colonists, had been their’s for centuries.

Today, life on the typical Native American reservation is far from perfect: Poverty, high unemployment, substandard education and healthcare are all major issues these communities face. Choosing to live on reservations, therefore, can be a powerful statement of sovereignty. To some, it is an act of self-determination intended to stand against centuries of forced-assimilation policies which stripped land, resources and even children from tribal communities.

Keystone XL brought this hard-won spirit of sovereignty under threat. The plan to expand an existing oil pipeline system, linking oil-rich tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta with refineries and distributors across the US, would essentially bisect South Dakota, cutting straight through Rosebud Sioux tribal land. A longtime topic of concern for environmentalists, the Keystone XL pipeline raised hackles, being yet another instance in which the American government attempted to circumvent Native sovereignty in the pursuit of economic gain.

Passions boiled over in November following a vote in the US House of Representatives approving expansion. In a press release issued in response to the vote, Rosebud Sioux tribal president Cyril Scott said, “Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people.” It was a statement intended to stoke passions, and perhaps rightfully so.

Tara Houska, a tribal rights attorney in Washington, DC, and a founding member of NotYourMascots.org, is more measured in her wording, but generally agrees with Scott’s assessment of the situation. The risk for local tribes would have been huge. Keystone XL brings with it the risk that spilled diluted bitumen, or “dilbit,” might contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, the only source of drinking water for tribes like the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux.

(photo by Ryan Redcorn)

In the event of a spill, “what does the federal government expect them to do?” Houska told Quartz, “Survive on bottled water? For years? Are they serious?”

Federal disregard for Native stakes in the pipeline expansion are part of a larger pattern of inattention, she added. Many area tribes, including the Oglala Sioux, feel they were inadequately consulted by authorities in Washington prior to congressional approval earlier in February. “When I got brought in, they had already had their quote unquote consultation,” Houska said. Washington’s envoys were apparently well out of their depth, seemingly unaware (or uninterested) in Keystone XL’s specific impact on Sioux reservations. “[Tribal representatives] ended up leaving the meeting!”

Even if a major industrial project, such as Keystone XL, skirts officially recognized tribal boundaries, sufficient consultation with area tribes is required by law, she explained. “There are often times when we have rights to treaty lands that were never officially ceded.” The lackluster meeting between Oglala Sioux representatives and federal authorities “did not meet the requirements of consultation,” she said.

In addition to potential environmental impacts, tribes require consultation on projects like Keystone XL for a number a reasons, chief among them issues pertaining to community safety. “It’s going to bring a large number of men into the area,” Houska said, citing concerns raised by South Dakota law enforcement and women’s rights advocacy-groups. The housing of about 1,000 pipeline laborers, mostly men, in TransCanada work camps placed close to reservations could cause an uptick in sexual assaults against area women. Native women are already 2.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than women of any other race, reports Mary Annette Pember for Indian Country Today. “The perpetrators of this violence are overwhelmingly non-Native,” she noted.

Beyond the practicalities of community health and security, the potential impact of the pipeline on the earth is of course of great concern as well. But, for Natives, a commitment to environmentalist values extends far beyond the political. “As a woman, I’m a waterkeeper. That’s part of my culture,” Tara Houska explained. (She is Minnesota Anishinaabe and a citizen of the Couchiching First Nation in Ontario.) “Being stewards of the earth, moving beyond fossil fuels, is more than just about sustainability for us. It’s a cultural requirement.”

“The Lakota people have always been stewards of this land,” president Scott said in his statement, insisting that weaning society off of its fossil-fuel dependency is key to brighter futures both on and off reservations. “We feel it is imperative to to provide safe and responsible alternative energy resources not only to tribal members, but to non-tribal-members as well,” he added. “We need to start remembering that the earth is our mother and stop polluting her, and start taking steps to preserve the land, water, and our grandchildren’s future.”

“It’s the fourth-largest aquifer in the world,” Houska said of the Ogallala Aquifer. “The largest in the United States. It provides 30% of the irrigation water for the country.” Any future industrial projects in the region could have similarly devastating aftermaths. “This issue affects you, whether you live on a reservation or in a big city.”

Correction: Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this article misquoted Tara Houska as saying, “[Tribal leaders] ended up leading the meeting!” She said, “[Tribal leaders] ended up leaving the meeting,” referring to a consultation between tribes and federal authorities in Rapid City, SD, during which Sioux representatives walked out.

You can follow Jake on Twitter @jakeflanagin. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

Won this round, now let’s finish this fight. Onwards.#NoKXL #TimeToReject

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