Saturday, August 15, 2015

MN fight for clean tribal waters echoes in WI

The fight to keep a pipeline carrying volatile Bakken crude oil out of tribal waters in Minnesota where wild rice has sustained life and culture for centuries echoes the recent battle won by the Bad River Ojibwe in NW Wisconsin to prevent decades of open-pit/ mountain-top removal/iron mining/and ore-crushing just upstream from its wild rice waters at the edge of Lake Superior. 

The Minnesota pipeline is a project of Enbridge, the Canadian firm responsible for a host of pipeline breaks and spills, including a major spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River which is the biggest such event on an inland waterway in US history.

And Enbridge is the same company planning a separate and substantial pipeline capacity expansion for Canadian tar sand crude that will run the length of Wisconsin, and which won through legislative back-door maneuvering an exemption from county insurance requirements.

The Minnesota plan which threatens rice-growing water quality in ironically-named Clearwater County begs questions also facing Wisconsin, too:

Haven't we had enough of broken treaties in this country? Degraded and polluted air, water and land? Pipeline spills? And corporate disregard for just about everyone else, enabled by politicians?

The Minnesota story, and more news from neighboring Wisconsin that Lake Superior conservation activists and their indigenous allies who fended off open-pit mining and milling - - for now - - face a fresh threat from an Iowa firm looking to locate a massive, 26,000 pig-feeding-and-manure-spreading operation there.

Who, you ask, would even consider locating such an operation so close to Great Lakes water?

The same sort of people who practice manure politics, or would run oil pipelines through the same kind of environment, and run them roughshod over people whose roots go back centuries, that's who.

So this seems like one of those days to revisit the wisdom about respect for water laid down years ago by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist.  Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," 

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