Monday, October 11, 2021

Follow Indigenous Leaders on Climate

It was galling on Indigenous Peoples Day today to hear Minnesota's governor or President Joe Biden talk about their commitments to honor treaties with Indigenous people. We know the opposite is happening when it comes to oil pipelines.

Honor the Earth put out a series of tweets and illustrations today calling for solidarity:

Stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples' climate leadership.

We must call on our leaders to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples and end fossil fuel expansion once and for all. We know that in order to halt the worst of the climate crisis we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution = 25% of U.S. and Canadian emissions.

Indigenous leaders are calling on Biden to move past promises and commit to real climate action. Like ending fracking and shutting down all pipelines. It’s time to #StopLine3 #BuildBackFossilFree

Stand in solidarity and call on our leaders to recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples to decide what happens in our own territories. #IndigenousPeoplesDay #HonorTheTreaties

As depressing as the current status of the Line 3 pipeline is, Honor the Earth's Winona LaDuke had a bracing op-ed in the Star Tribune over the weekend, highlighting just how much was won from the struggle.

If you're a person who wonders about the wisdom of stopping a pipeline (especially now that it's completed, thinking, Won't the oil just get through some other way, like by train or truck?), this thread is for you.

Essentially it makes this point: the Canadian tar sands oil that Enbridge will pump through Line 3 is already less economical to unearth than the liquid oil that's pumped out of the ground. It doesn't pay to mine it when the price of oil is low. If it can't go through a pipeline to reach refineries, other modes of transport would add to its cost and make it even less financially viable and more likely to be left in the ground where it belongs. 

And even if they could afford to move it, the capacity needed to move the oil on rails does not exist by Enbridge's own calculations, which was shown in their permit filings. Plus, railroads don't want to move this product because they know oil trains are dangerous. The pipelines are dangerous, too, as Enbridge has found when it was recently told it's uninsurable. (Yes, did you hear that?)

But too many people keep saying, "They would move the oil anyway, even if there wasn't a new pipeline." They could keep using the old pipeline —which is running at partial capacity — yes, but that's about it.

So there is value in closing down this new pipeline, whether it's to keep it from causing a future spill, violating the treaties more than it already has, or worsening climate change. 

Moving oil at the highest capacity possible is not a natural law that cannot be changed. It can be stopped.

Follow Indigenous leaders. They've been showing the way.

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