Mille Lacs Band holds public hearing on proposed energy pipeline

A map of the Sandpiper pipeline route through treaty lands in Minnesota. Larger Image

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians will hold a public hearing next Friday, June 5, on a proposed energy pipeline in Minnesota.

The tribe is worried about the $2.6 billion Sandpiper crude oil pipeline. The proposed route crosses treaty-ceded territory and a spill could affect traditional wild rice areas.

To address the concerns, the tribe wants to engage in formal consultation with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The agency is expected to decide whether to allow construction next Friday as well.

"I again urge you to postpone the PUC vote on this matter until such time as the PUC Members have an opportunity to consider the views of the Native Americans who will be most impacted by potential spills," Mille Lacs Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin said in a letter to the agency, The Brainerd Dispatch reported.

The activist group Honor the Earth also sought formal consultation, citing the 1855 treaty which reserved hunting, fishing and gathering tribes for Ojibwe tribes. But an administrative law judge denied the request in May 2014.

Approval of the pipeline, though, could lead to further hearings on the route, the Dispatch reported. The agency might hold one on a reservation, a spokesperson told the paper.

Enbridge Energy wants to build the pipeline to transport oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota through Minnesota to an existing terminal in Wisconsin.

Get the Story:
Mille Lacs Band plans Sandpiper public hearing (The Brainerd Dispatch 5/28)

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