Indigenous and Climate Leaders Outraged Over Minnesota Permits for Line 3 Pipeline
By Jessica Corbett
Environmental and Indigenous leaders on Thursday responded with alarm after Minnesota regulators approved key permits for Enbridge Energy's planned Line 3 Pipeline replacement, and called on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to block any construction for the Canadian company's long-delayed multibillion-dollar project.
"Gov. Walz has apparently decided that if Washington won't lead on climate, Minnesota won't either," said Andy Pearson, MN350's Midwest tar sands coordinator, in a statement about the permits. "Make no mistake. "This decision is a sharp escalation against water protectors and climate science."
The Associated Press reported that "the approvals from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources clear the way for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue the remaining federal permits, which is expected to happen fairly quickly. The MPCA could then approve a final construction storm water permit that's meant to protect surface waters from pollutant runoff."
As Leo Golden, vice president of Line 3 execution, called it "a big day for Line 3 in Minnesota" and said that "these authorizations and approvals are an important step towards construction," Pearson and other critics of the crude oil project reiterated their opposition, citing both treaty rights and climate science.
BREAKING: Despite violating Ojibwe treaty rights, despite climate science & future generations, @GovTimWalz adminis… https://t.co/0JOvd2E6vv— tara houska ᔖᐳᐌᑴ (@tara houska ᔖᐳᐌᑴ)1605215408.0
"Line 3 is facing multiple court challenges by Native nations, grassroots groups, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce," Pearson noted. "This decision means that Enbridge may launch construction while the overall need and legality of the pipeline are being fought in court, including by a state agency."
"There is a good chance that courts will find the pipeline was approved illegally," he said. "It's just common sense, then, to demand that the state immediately halt Enbridge's progress toward construction while those important legal challenges play out."
We're beginning construction on an unnecessary, dangerous oil pipeline, in the middle of a climate crisis. In the m… https://t.co/1lpCIYHYrL— Tim Schaefer (@Tim Schaefer)1605212898.0
In February 2019, Walz said publicly that projects like Line 3 "don't just need a building permit to go forward, they also need a social permit." At the time, the governor was praised for "working for the people first not a foreign pipeline company" by deciding to renew a challenge launched by his predecessor against the project.
"It's clear now that Gov. Walz's wish for Line 3 to have 'a social permit' was all talk and no action," Pearson declared. "This is a deeply unpopular pipeline that is a disaster for our climate, and it will be fought every step of the way. The climate justice movement will still stop the pipeline, but the governor has made that unnecessarily harder."
The permits come less than a week after major news outlets called the presidential contest for President-elect Joe Biden. Though he has faced calls from campaigners to go even further, Biden has still put forth climate action plans that dramatically contrast with the pro-corporate polluter agenda of President Donald Trump.
"President Trump spent four years angling to protect the profits of Big Oil rather than protecting our planet," said Pearson. "Minnesota loudly rejected that kind of destructive leadership. The governor had all the legal tools he needed to stop this environmentally catastrophic pipeline. Why would he instead give Trump a parting gift like this in the last days of his term?"
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By Gwen Ranniger
Fertility issues are on the rise, and new literature points to ways that your environment may be part of the problem. We've rounded up some changes you can make in your life to promote a healthy reproductive system.
Infertility and Environmental Health: The Facts<ul> <li>Sperm count is declining steeply, significantly, and continuously in Western countries, with no signs of tapering off. Erectile dysfunction is on the rise, and women are facing increasing rates of miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.</li><li>Why? A huge factor is our environmental health. Hormones (particularly testosterone and estrogen) are what make reproductive function possible, and our hormones are increasingly being negatively affected by harmful, endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonplace in the modern world—in our homes, foods, and lifestyles.</li></ul>
What You Can Do About It<p>It should be noted that infertility can be caused by any number of factors, including medical conditions that cannot be solved with a simple change at home.</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are struggling with infertility, our hearts and sympathies are with you. Your pain is validated and we hope you receive answers to your struggles.</em></p><p>Read on to discover our tips to restore or improve reproductive health by removing harmful habits and chemicals from your environment.</p>
Edit Your Health<ul><li>If you smoke, quit! Smoking is toxic, period. If someone in your household smokes, urge them to quit or institute a no-smoking ban in the house. It is just as important to avoid secondhand smoke.</li><li>Maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your caloric intake is right for your body and strive for moderate exercise.</li><li>Eat cleanly! Focus on whole foods and less processed meals and snacks. Studies have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to increased fertility.</li><li>Minimize negative/constant stress—or find ways to manage it. Hobbies such as meditation or yoga that encourage practiced breathing are great options to reduce the physical toll of stress.</li></ul>
Edit Your Home<p>We spend a lot of time in our homes—and care that what we bring into them will not harm us. You may not be aware that many commonly found household items are sources of harmful, endocrine-disrupting compounds. Read on to find steps you can take—and replacements you should make—in your home.</p><p><strong>In the Kitchen</strong></p><ul> <li>Buy organic, fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/clean-grocery-shopping-guide-2648563801.html" target="_blank">Read our grocery shopping guide for more tips about food.</a></li><li>Switch to glass, ceramics, or stainless steel for food storage: plastics often contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that affect fertility. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bpa-pollution-2645493129.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Learn more about the dangers of plastic here.</a></li><li>Ban plastic from the microwave. If you have a plastic splatter cover, use paper towel, parchment paper, or an upside-down plate instead.</li><li>Upgrade your cookware: non-stick may make life easier, but it is made with unsafe chemical compounds that seep into your food. Cast-iron and stainless steel are great alternatives.</li><li>Filter tap water. Glass filter pitchers are an inexpensive solution; if you want to invest you may opt for an under-the-sink filter.</li><li>Check your cleaning products—many mainstream products are full of unsafe chemicals. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check out our guide to safe cleaning products for more info</a>.</li></ul><p><strong>In the Bathroom </strong></p><ul> <li>Check the labels on your bathroom products: <em>fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free</em> and organic labels are all great signs. You can also scan the ingredients lists for red-flag chemicals such as: triclosan, parabens, and dibutyl phthalate. Use the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank">EWG Skin Deep database</a> to vet your personal products.</li><li>Ditch the vinyl shower curtain—that new shower curtain smell is chemical-off gassing. Choose a cotton or linen based curtain instead.</li><li>Banish air fresheners—use natural fresheners (an open window, baking soda, essential oils) instead.</li></ul><p><strong>Everywhere Else</strong></p><ul><li>Remove wall-to-wall carpet. If you've been considering wood or tile, here's your sign: many synthetic carpets can emit harmful chemicals for years. If you want a rug, choose wool or plant materials such as jute or sisal.</li><li>Prevent dust build-up. Dust can absorb chemicals in the air and keep them lingering in your home. Vacuum rugs and wipe furniture, trim, windowsills, fans, TVs, etc. Make sure to have a window open while you're cleaning!</li><li>Leave shoes at the door! When you wear your shoes throughout the house, you're tracking in all kinds of chemicals. If you like wearing shoes inside, consider a dedicated pair of "indoor shoes" or slippers.</li><li>Clean out your closet—use cedar chips or lavender sachets instead of mothballs, and use "green" dry-cleaning services over traditional methods. If that isn't possible, let the clothes air out outside or in your garage for a day before putting them back in your closet.</li><li>Say no to plastic bags!</li><li>We asked 22 endocrinologists what products they use - and steer clear of—in their homes. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/nontoxic-products-2648564261.html" target="_blank">Check out their responses here</a>.</li></ul>
Learn More<ul><li>For more information and action steps, be sure to check out <em>Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race</em> by EHS adjunct scientist Shanna Swan, PhD: <a href="https://www.shannaswan.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">available for purchase here.</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ehn.org/st/Subscribe_to_Above_The_Fold" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sign up for our Above the Fold Newsletter </a>to stay up to date about impacts on the environment and your health.</li></ul>
The irony hit Katherine Kehrli, the associate dean of Seattle Culinary Academy, when one of the COVID-19 pandemic's successive waves of closures flattened restaurants: Many of her culinary students were themselves food insecure. She saw cooks, bakers, and chefs-in-training lose the often-multiple jobs that they needed simply to eat.