Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Countering the Enbridge Propaganda

 


By Doug George-Kanentiio

In the November 21 edition of Indian Time the oil and natural gas pipeline company Enbridge had a long article printed in which it proclaimed its operations as one which was defined by “economic growth, job creation, increased tax revenue and community vitality”.

The article is long on money and its claim to involve indigenous peoples. Yet no mention is made of its connection with Dakota Access, the company which organized assaults on Native people protesting its pipeline expansion plans at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Many Mohawks went to Standing Rock and pledged their support for the Native resistance including representatives from the Mohawk Nation and the St. Regis Tribal Council. While there they risked physical assault and arrest.

The following is a list of recent protests of people protesting Enbridge (source: http://www.en.wikipedia.org):

Protests and controversies

In May 2012, West Coast First Nations members and supporters protested near Enbridge’s Annual Shareholder’s meeting, against the proposed Northern Gateway Project.[52]

On May 31, 2012, the Vancouver Observer reported about 40 protesters outside the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit, protesting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.[53]

On July 17, 2012, a group calling itself “We are the Kalamazoo” protested against Enbridge’s response to the Kalamazoo spill and its plans to construct the line 6B pipeline. This protest was on the second anniversary of the Kalamazoo spill.[54]

On September 14, 2012, WLNS-TV reported clashes between Enbridge and landowners over eminent domain.[55]

On November 12, 2012, the Lansing State Journal reported that the head of the Line 6B pipeline project stated that he had never seen as much organized landowner resistance before despite 30 years in the pipeline industry. They noted that this was probably because of the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill.[56]

On April 20, 2013, a group of about 30 protesters gathered at the site of the Kalamazoo River oil spill to protest against tar sands oil, fracking, and Enbridge’s response to the spill. Kalamazoo County Commissioner Jeff Heppler, whose property was affected by the spill, was present at the protest and stated, “’All I am asking is Enbridge do what they said they said they will do and what is right and take care of everybody, including the businesses that were adversely impacted by the oil spill.’”[57]

In May 2013, Hamilton area residents protested the reversal of flow in Line 9 and temporarily closed Ontario Highway 6.[58]

On June 6, 2013, a group called Hamilton 350 sent a letter of complaint to the Hamilton (Ontario) police service (HPS) for accepting over $44,000 in donations from Enbridge. The letter questions whether police officers would be impartial during any anti-Enbridge protests, given the donation. The letter questions, “If there were a standoff between, on the one side, environmentalists and/or native people (who claim the spot at which the Grand River is crossed by this pipeline) and, on the other side, Enbridge, Inc., would officers of the HPS be able to be truly impartial?”[59]

One June 26, 2013, Hamilton Police arrested at least 10 people who occupied an Enbridge compound for six days to protest the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 9 and intent to ship diluted bitumen through the line.[60]

On July 22, 2013, a group of protesters locked themselves to equipment at an Enbridge pipeline construction site in Stockbridge, Michigan. Protesters stated that they had to take matters into their own hands given that state regulators were failing the public, “We felt that there was no other option.”[61]

Throughout Minnesota in 2013, activists from the Red Lake and Leech Lake reservations, members of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, and MN350 have been taking action against the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline which runs through the North half of Minnesota. At the Red Lake reservation, the only reservation in the nation to have a pipeline operating under its soil without easements, a permanent encampment has been erected over the pipeline Right-of-Way, causing Enbridge to be fined for every day the pipeline is in operation. Activists from these organizations have organized demonstrations and disrupted hearings with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to demand that permission to increase the flow of dilbit through the Alberta Clipper pipeline be denied. In August 2013, the PUC agreed that a contested-case hearing take place to order further assessment of the environmental impacts of the increased capacity.[citation needed]

The Line 3 Oil pipeline has also drawn resistance from climate justice organizers and Native communities in Minnesota.[62]

A September 16, 2013, “Inside Climate News” report by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Hasemeyer describes how many Michigan landowners are concerned about the safety of new Enbridge pipeline being laid within a few feet of their homes, and the lack of regulations for how close a pipeline can be constructed to an existing home. The article quotes Richard Kuprewicz, president of an engineering consulting company and an adviser to Pipeline Hazardous Materials Administration: “Clearly the pipeline safety regulations aren’t adequate in this area and the siting regulations aren’t adequate,” Kuprewicz said. “It’s a bad combination.” Homeowners are questioning Enbridge’s claims of putting safety first while also placing pipelines sometimes within 10 feet of homes.[63]

On September 3, 2016, security personnel from the Dakota Access Pipeline company attacked a group of Native American protesters with dogs and pepper spray but were eventually driven off by protesters. The group was protesting the construction of a crude oil pipeline.[64] Enbridge has announced plans to acquire a portion of the Dakota Access pipeline in a $2 billion deal

Why protest? Enbridge has a very controversial record with regards to oil spills. Here is a partial list:

1991: largest domestic oil spill at Grand Rapids, Michigan

2002: oil spill in Minnesota

2006: 67 oil spills

2007: 65 oil spills

2007: two workers killed in Minnesota

2007: 50,000-gallon spill in Wisconsin

2007: oil spill in Saskatchewan

2009: paid $1.1 million to Wisconsin for 545 environmental violations

2010: oil leak North Dakota

2010: oil leak Minnesota

2010: Kalamazoo oil spill: 1,000,000 gallons

2010: oil spill Illinois

2017: oil line rupture Texas

Enbridge excludes its connection with TigerSwan, the security company which worked with local law enforcement in North Dakota to investigate and to protect the company’s construction plans. No mention was made by Enbridge of US President Donald Trump’s investment in Dakota Access, one of Enbridge’s partners. No mention is made of Enbridge’s transportation of hydrofracking natural gas, one of the most environmentally harmful extractions ever devised by any energy company.

Before our Akwesasne leadership enters into this controversial deal we have to be clear as to what Enbridge actually does.

This is not a good deal. It means a serious compromise in our standing as custodians of the earth. It destroys our credibility.

Enbridge’s statement is without balance and should be dismissed as company propaganda just as any deal with that corporation should also be rejected.

There are no tangible benefits which cannot be secured using other resources including the attachment of power from the St. Lawrence Power Dam if only the three councils would put aside their differences and work on behalf of the earth, the natural world, our waters and the people.

 

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