Leech Lake Bands Together To Discuss New Oil Pipeline
A thorough evaluation of the proposed Line Three replacement project is underway. In the coming months, area Native American tribal bands will weigh in on the oil pipeline that may come through their reservations. Leech Lake members met to discuss their concerns Wednesday night.
While the proposed route would not come through Cass Lake, the current line running through the Leech Lake reservation will have to be deactivated. This route could change however, through the environmental review process.
“760,000 barrels a day– that’s what they’re trying to send our way,” said Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor The Earth, a Native-led environmental group. “Just in case anyone wants to know, [that’s] tar sands. Tar sands.”
Organizers hope that people use the meetings to get a better understanding of what the pipeline could mean for the area.
“We just want to make sure the community is empowered and that they have all the information they need to make solid statements as to what they want for their community,” said Levi Brown, the Leech Lake Environmental Land director.
Attendees were able to ask questions about the process. One member wanted more information about the regulatory process and how that could potentially be changed.
“Has there been any legislative activity at the state level that has been conducted?” asked Alan Roy, a White Earth tribal member.
One woman expressed the need to get others involved in the meetings. She said that many questioned where protestors were before making camp at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline. She wanted people to know that they were attending the public discussions.
“I think that we need to get bus loads of people to these three meetings coming up,” said Tami Liberty, a White Earth tribal member. “That many or more.”
Formal meetings to be held in Cass Lake, Ball Club and Bena will be gathered for tribal record. They will also be submitted for the Environmental Impact Statement.
“Tonight is about getting the information, ponder your thoughts, write a statement and then you’re going to make it in February,” said Annie Humphrey, the Leech Lake organizer for Honor The Earth.
Leech Lake and other area tribes have previously stated their opposition to the pipeline.
The next meeting will be held on February 1st at the Cass Lake Facility Center.