COINTELULZ on YouTube: Red Lake Nation Tribal Members Blockade Enbridge Pipelines
Business | Environment | National | Politics

Red Lake Nation calls for removal of oil pipelines from reservation

Leaders of the Red Lake Nation are formally calling for the removal of oil pipelines from their reservation in northern Minnesota.

The tribal council in January pulled out of a deal with Canadian energy firm Enbridge that would have allowed the pipelines to stay in place. Leaders now want the infrastructure removed altogether.

“We just want them to move their lines and clean up the pollution and the damages they've done the past 70 years,” Chairman told The Bemidji Pioneer after the council voted unanimously on Tuesday to remove the pipelines.

Enbridge inherited the pipelines from another company, which never secured permission from the tribe. The oversight was apparently unintentional, as the federal government hadn't enforced its oversight of the lands at issue.

The council previously voted to accept $18.5 million from Enbridge to end the dispute. The deal would have required the tribe to turn over the land in question and receive a parcel in exchange from the company.

But Red Lake leaders became disillusioned because they felt the Trump administration was unwilling to accept the new lands in trust without an act of Congress, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported earlier this month. Seki told the paper that the deal was "never going to happen" with the current president in office.

Historically, tribes and individual Indians have been at a disadvantage in rights-of-way, easement and trespass disputes with the energy industry. In Oklahoma, an energy company was allowed to operate a natural gas pipeline on Indian land for nearly two decades without paying the owners. A federal judge ordered the pipeline to be removed but nothing has happened.

In New Mexico, a utility company has operated a transmission line on the Navajo Nation for decades despite lacking agreement with the owners. The tribe and individual Indians won a major court victory last year but the dispute remains in limbo because the utility is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

Read More on the Story:
Red Lake votes to remove pipelines (The Bemidji Pioneer March 14, 2018)
Red Lake Tribal Council votes to oust Enbridge from its land (The Minneapolis Star Tribune March 16, 2018)

Related Stories:
Red Lake Nation land swap is 'never going to happen' under Trump (March 5, 2018)
Darrell Seki: Red Lake Nation makes right decision with land swap (January 5, 2016)
Red Lake Nation accepts $18.5M for taking of land by energy firm (January 4, 2016)