Big week for Minnesota’s pipelines: What’s your plan?

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Written by MEP’s Andrew Slade – Whether you’re a committed pipeline opponent, an energy policy nerd, or a concerned parent, you could find that the first week in June will be a turning point in your life as a citizen of this state…and this planet. Important developments will affect the future of tar sands development and climate change here in Minnesota.

Pace yourself. In the span of just a few days, from June 3 to June 6, a major pipeline decision will be made, a Native American band will assert its historic pipeline authority, and thousands from across the region will gather at a Minnesota landmark to rally against pipelines.

You simply can’t make all of these events. What’s the best fit for you?

If you think we don’t really need another pipeline in Minnesota

On June 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will meet to hear oral arguments about the proposed Sandpiper pipeline. This new pipeline would open a brand-new energy corridor across northern Minnesota’s lake country. A judge has already recommended that the Commission approve the so-called “Certificate of Need.” The judge thinks Minnesota needs the pipeline, but many Minnesota citizens disagree. Citizens are welcome to attend the meeting, but no public testimony will be taken. However, Honor the Earth has a rally planned for outside the PUC office starting at 9:30. The meeting will be at the PUC office in downtown St. Paul, 121 7th Place E, Suite 350. Detailed information on this can be found (if you dig) at the PUC website .

If you’re a tribal member or support their rights

Two formal public hearings have been called on Indian reservations that would be crossed by the Sandpiper and Line 3 pipeline projects. At both hearings, band members and local community members are invited to learn about the pipelines and share their perspective on how tribal lands and peoples will be impacted.

On Thursday, June 4, the White Earth Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will hold the first pipeline hearing to be held on reservation. It will be at the Rice Lake Community Center from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. The address for the Community Center is 26209 Water Tower Loop, about 18 miles south of Bagley, MN.

The Mille Lacs Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is holding a second pipeline hearing at 10:00 morning, Friday June 5, at the East Lake Community Center, 20650 363rd Lane, about five miles south of McGregor.

 If you want to watch big decisions being made

Also on June 5, the Minnesota PUC will hold their internal deliberations about the Sandpiper Certificate of Need. And they’re scheduled to vote on the pipeline proposal as well. Here’s where the citizens of Minnesota will see if their message has been heard. Will the PUC consider the real impacts on climate that the judge chose to ignore? This topic won’t be taken up before 10:00 in the morning, but come early if you hope to have a space in the actual meeting room. Like the meeting on June 3, this will be held at the PUC office, 121 7th Place E, Suite 350, St. Paul.

If you’re ready for a good time

The busy week wraps up in grand fashion, with the Tar Sands Resistance March on Saturday June 6 in St. Paul. Thousands of marchers will descend on downtown St. Paul. This will be the largest action against tar sands the region has ever seen. Marchers will meet at the bank of the Mississippi River and march to the State Capitol. Speakers will include national figures such as Bill McKibben of and Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, and tribal leaders and activists such as Kandi Mossett from Indigenous Environmental Network.

June 6 wraps up with a benefit concert for Friends of the Headwaters in Nevis, Minnesota.  Join musicians Dakota Dave Hull and Finn Hall, with special quests Pop Wagner and Bob Douglas for a from 7 to 9 PM at Terrapin Station on Main Street. Tickets are available at the door, with a suggested minimum donation of $25 per ticket.

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