Pipeline Meeting Expected To Draw Hundreds To Bemidji
The only public meeting for an oil pipeline expansions’ environmental review draft is set to take place in Bemidji. Hundreds will come to comment on the findings of the 746 page document. Various environmental groups from around the area are busy preparing for the meeting.
Outside the Bemidji Wells Fargo, protestors urge others to divest from the bank, which supplied money to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
But now that DAPL is moving forward with an executive action by President Donald Trump, their message has shifted.
These activists are ready for people statewide to comment on the expansion of Enbridge Energy’s Alberta Clipper pipeline. The company is looking to increase the output from 500,000 to potentially 890,000 barrels each day.
“I would hope that anybody who cares about the issue will be there,” said Nikki Miller, a protestor outside the bank.
Over the weekend, an organizer from the climate change organization MN350, addressed another grassroots group to get others interested in the meeting.
“This is a peoples issue, not a native issue.”
Jordan Morgan is coordinating speakers to talk about different alternatives that the company could invest in instead.
“The solutions summit wants to discuss the alternatives that we want to promote,” said Morgan.
Winona LaDuke, the executive director of the indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth, will be speaking at the event.
“We plan to testify, we plan to talk about the full scope and we plan to begin to inform people about the impacts not only about this pipeline but the next pipelines they are proposing,” said LaDuke.
She is concerned that the company is moving ahead with this expansion before it finishes the replacement of Line 3.
“My deal is that you gotta clean up your old mess before you make a new mess. Enbridge should do the same thing. Otherwise the liability is transferred to all of us.”
But environmental activists aren’t the only ones getting prepared. Law enforcement officials are also getting ready to control the potentially large crowds.
Police Chief Mike Mastin says one of the biggest concerns is the unknown of how many people will show up and what they’re expecting from the event.
“We’ve done a lot of planning and put some things in place so we can assure that everyone that’s going there can have a safe experience,” said Chief Mastin.
Once the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is revised, the Sate Department would then decide whether or not to issue the Presidential Permit for the expansion.