A federal judge blocked the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline in November 2018, saying the Trump administration’s justification for approving it last year was “incomplete,” meaning it vacated for political effect the requirements of environmental law in the US. Idle No More and AIM leader Lydia Ponce reflects on her visits to the camps challenging tar sands pipelines to protect Mother Earth and Indigenous sovereignty.
EcoJustice Radio: Water Protectors Taking on Tar Sands Pipelines
Carry Kim from EcoJustice Radio on KPFK in Los Angeles talks with Lydia Ponce, a Mayo-Quechua Indigenous leader and social justice activist, member of AIM (American Indian Movement), and Co-Director of Idle No More SoCal. She also works as SoCal 350 Engagement Director.
Lydia shared updates about two controversial tar sands pipelines originating out of Alberta, Canada: TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3. Both projects pose numerous threats for indigenous peoples, their way of life and sacred territories, in addition to the devastating impacts they would have on Mother Earth and climate change. Tar sands crude oil [often called oil sands] remains one of the dirtiest, costliest and most reckless forms of fossil fuel extraction.
Lydia will also inform listeners about the perils of indigenous women who go missing or are murdered, as a consequence of “man camps” established during pipeline construction. Hear the call to action, donate to the cause, and make a difference in stopping these pipelines. Hear how you can help preserve life in the north for future generations, and help protect the lives of indigenous women.
Judge Halts Keystone XL For Now, Line 3 Approvals Under Challenge
A federal judge in Montana blocked the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline this month, saying the Trump administration’s justification for approving it last year was incomplete. In a 54-page decision, the judge faulted the Trump’s State Department reversing then-President Obama’s 2015 denial of the pipeline permit without proper explanation. He said they “simply discarded” climate change concerns related to the project. The decision once again casts doubt on the future of the 1,179-mile tar sands pipeline, which for much of the decade since its proposal by TransCanada Corp. has been a lightning rod in national energy policy.
First Nations, environmental groups and local communities have been resisting KXL for nearly a decade now. It would extend from the tar sands fields of Alberta, Canada and crosses the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska on the pathway to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
TransCanada broke ground on the pipeline, one week after three First Nations, Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate), Fort Belknap Indian Community (Assiniboine – Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Ananiiih Tribes), sued the Trump Administration for illegal approval of the pipeline violating the Ft. Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868.
Line 3 is a pipeline expansion proposed by the third largest private corporation in Canada, Enbridge. The existing Line 3 crosses 300+ miles of Northern Minnesota, through the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac reservations. This pipeline is old and crumbling and Enbridge seeks to abandon responsibility for it as a stranded asset, while proposing a new Line 3 which would double capacity, at minimum.
The proposed new Line 3 route would endanger the Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world’s fresh water, as well as some of the most delicate soils, aquifers, and pristine lakes in northern Minnesota. It would also threaten wild rice lakes and wetlands, native to the indigenous peoples of this region. This 1,000-mile pipeline, would extend from Alberta to Wisconsin and would place undue burdens for critical resources on Ojibwe treaty lands, where tribal members retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony, and travel. The route would create a new corridor through the 1855 Treaty Territory and through the Fond du Lac (FDL) reservation.
Tribal governments, environmental organizations, and community members are actively uniting to stop Line 3. Allies to prevent Line 3 include: Ojibwe tribes and grassroots groups such as Honor The Earth, MN350 and Friends of the Headwaters. Recently, a “Certificate of Need” (CON) was granted to Enbridge to approve building Line 3 by the Minnesota PUC (Public Utilities Commission). Opposition to the pipeline continues as it is still possible to reverse the CON and challenge the pipeline through legal action in the courts and through citizen participation.