Nobody’s Oil (Enbridge) is worth our Poisoned Water -Matt RemleTweet
Enbridge, Canada’s largest transporter of crude oil is quietly dodging public scrutiny to build 5,000-miles of new and expanded pipelines from Canadian and U.S. oil sites to refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast.
Unlike TransCanada, who has received heated opposition in its efforts to obtain a presidential permit from the State Department to build the KXL pipeline, Enbridge has managed to fly under the radar in its efforts to obtain a similar permit to expand its Alberta Clipper pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin. The State Department is currently reviewing its application.
If approved, Enbridge’s expanded pipeline would bring more oil into the U.S. than the KXL pipeline with the potential to carry 880,000 barrels of oil a day compared to the 830,000 barrels a day proposed daily capacity of the KXL pipeline. In addition to the proposed expansion of the Alberta Clipper pipeline, Enbridge seeks to build new and expanded pipelines in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, as well as, pipelines reaching both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
While Enbridge’s current application for a presidential permit has received little public attention, Enbridge has faced strong opposition from Indigenous communities for other purposed expansions and pipelines that are currently running through tribal lands.
In late February, Red Lake tribal members in Minnesota began an occupation to shut down Enbridge’s pipelines that have been illegally operating on tribal lands. The pipelines, which were originally built in 1949 by Lakehead pipelines without permission of the Red Lake Nation, were purchased by Enbridge who have continued to operate the pipelines without tribal permission. These pipelines have burst in the past with spills causing major contamination of lands and waters in the nearby towns of Bemidji and Deer River, MN. Tribal members have demanded that the pipelines be shut down immediately.
Enbridge has also faced tremendous opposition from First Nations communities over the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project that would bring tar sands oil through British Columbia to the Pacific. To date over 130 First Nations have signed on to the Save the Fraser Declaration, an Indigenous law declaration banning tar sands pipelines and tankers from crossing British Columbia.
“The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.”
-Chief Siʔaɫ (Chief Sealth)
Whether the threats are coming from TransCanada, Enbridge, or any other multinational it is clear that now, more than ever, our beautiful and compassionate mother earth, Maka Ina, needs not only protection from the daily onslaught of abuses, but she needs for all her children to return to the nation of all living beings, to the web of life as so eloquently stated by Chief Siʔaɫ.
In our Lakota ways, it has been said that when creation was complete all living beings on earth were called wamakaskan oyate meaning literally living beings of earth. We understood ourselves to be a part of creation all related and all of equal importance. To place ourselves above any other creation would directly go against our worldview as Lakota.
We must understand that the children of profit have and will continue to be relentless in their pursuit of exploitation of all living beings in the name of greed and profit. We must also be absolutely clear that a moral center does not exist within these multinationals and their corporate heads. A prime example is the eight member nations, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S., known as the Permanent Participants, who are currently meeting regarding future development of the Arctic region due to the new found exposure of “resources” due to global warming.
These nations do not see the dangers of global warming, or the potential dire impacts on Indigenous communities in the Arctic stemming from resource exploitation, but rather embrace its impacts in opening up new areas for mineral extraction and profit. The Obama Administration has already released a national strategy spelling out plans for future development in the Arctic region. Disaster capitalism at its finest.
These massive toxic projects place profit ahead of all life and it is this perception and worldview that not only contradicts who we are as Indigenous peoples, but also violates our shared responsibilities with all of creation. We are the children of earth, not the children of profit, and our relatives are waiting for us to return to the circle of creation.