Mar 17th, 2013
From Tar Sands Blockade:
For over two weeks now, Nizhawendaamin Inaakiminaan (We Love Our Land) has been occupying land directly above four pipelines across an easement that Enbridge has claimed since 1949 when the company, then called Lakehead Pipe Line Company, installed the first of four pipelines across land owned by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa despite not having an easement from the Red Lake Chippewa Nation. These pipes carry toxic tar sands, Bakken oil, as well as Canadian crude. By threatening the local lakes, these pipes endanger the lives and economic livelihood of Red Lake Band members.
The grassroots group of Red Lake Chippewa and Anishinaabe Indians is joined by blockaders and solidarity activists determined to shut down the pipelines, hold Enbridge to account for stealing land, and protest Enbridge’s proposed expansion of the nearby Alberta Clipper toxic tar sands pipeline.
Located in Northern Minnesota near the town of Leonard, the occupation of the Red Lake land began Thursday, February 28. Requests to Enbridge regarding internal safety regulations related to above-ground activity over their pipelines resulted in a spokesperson claiming that activity such as fires and the construction of permanent structures like fences and houses would result in a pipeline needing to be shut down as documented in this viral video:
Similar encampments, like the Unist’ot’en Camp, have been springing up across the continent to fight the fossil fuel industry and stop the destruction of sacred lands in the pursuit of ever-more dangerous and destructive fossil fuel resources. Indeed, the pipeline industry would be hard pressed to imagine a tougher time in which to be doing business.
Indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines in the region dates back to 2009 when Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper tar sands line was run through Leech Lake and Fond du Lac Anishinaabe reservations. The pipeline was only saved by technicalities in tribal law that led a judge to dismiss the case against the decision by elected officials to contract with Enbridge.
Enbridge is currently in the process of seeking approval to nearly double the capacity of the nearby Alberta Clipper toxic tar sands pipeline from its current 440,000 barrels per day up to 800,000 bpd. Not only will the Red Lake action take four pipelines offline, it is also setting precedent that pipeline expansion will not be tolerated! Not only that, but shutting down the illegal Enbridge pipelines may prevent millions of barrels of dirty tar sands from reaching market. (emphasis added)
Now, with a decisively bold move and the backing of large constituencies of Red Lake Band members due to years of local community self-education, Nizhawendaamin Inaakiminaan might well set the first example of a tar sands line being forced to shut down permanently due to protest after it has been operational! …
Enbridge, of course, is a major player in the toxic tar sands pipeline saga being responsible for the costliest onshore petrochemical spill in US history. On July 25, 2010 a tar sands/diluted bitumen spill from Enbridge’s 6B pipeline near Marshall, Michigan that resulted in the release of over a million gallons of toxic tar sands/diluted bitumen and a permanently contaminated 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River along well as several tributaries. …
Nizhawendaamin Inaakiminaan is well aware of these happenings and has taken one of the most exciting steps to rid their territory of the threat to community health and safety that tar sands pipelines pose.
They are accepting donations to assist in the purchase of building and life-sustaining materials here:
Read the full (unabridged) article here.