Organizations respond to proposed Sandpiper route
Winona LaDuke and Michael Dahl of Honor the Earth will kick off the Stop the Sandpiper summer campaign Monday, July 7, with a horse ride along the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline corridor, including around the junction of Highways 371 and 87 near...
Winona LaDuke and Michael Dahl of Honor the Earth will kick off the Stop the Sandpiper summer campaign Monday, July 7, with a horse ride along the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline corridor, including around the junction of Highways 371 and 87 near the Corner Store in Backus.
The kickoff is planned to begin around noon, but people will gather and set up an hour earlier. Several churches from Walker, Hackensack and Pine River plan to attend and support the kickoff event, and the public is welcome to attend.
Honor the Earth, churches and lake associations plan to hold more awareness and other community participation events along the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline corridor through September wild ricing season. Some ideas were recently discussed at a meeting with local churches in Hackensack and Pine River, including 10 Mile Lake Association and the Leech Lake Watershed.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denied any further extensions of time or additional public hearings on the Sandpiper Pipeline proposed route - from Clearbrook to Park Rapids, across to Backus-Pine River, through Aitkin (Sandy Lake) to Superior, and both the certificate of need and pipeline routing permit process will continue together as one proceeding projected to conclude around May 2015.
The PUC should receive comments regarding route alternatives from the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Office of Energy Environmental Review and Analysis (EERA) possibly by July 2. Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters are encouraging people to learn more about proposed alternative routes for the Sandpiper that would divert the course of the pipeline closer to the Twin Cities and away from Minnesota's northern lakes regions. Friends of the Headwaters filed a motion with the PUC for oral arguments in support of parties' proposed alternative routes, which become part of the Comparative Environmental Analysis.
The second scheduling meeting with Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman is set for Wednesday, July 9. The present target date for the PUC to take action on the proposed alternative routes submitted to the PUC is set for July 24. Because Enbridge wants to run the Sandpiper pipeline to Superior, Wisconsin, it argues that alternatives from local citizens and groups - like paralleling Interstates 29 and 94 to St. Paul refineries suggested by Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters' southern route to connect the existing pipelines to Chicago - should not be given consideration as serious alternatives.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) submitted its revised comments to the PUC saying Minnesota has reached capacity for oil pipelines in northern lakes region. MPCA comments could result in federal agencies like the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to become actively involved in the entire project crossing three significant watersheds and impacting Chippewa wild rice lakes and rivers.
For updates, alternative legal strategies and information on Sandpiper Pipeline and PUC filings and decisions or to find out more about how your group can participate, visit www.honorearth.org .