For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2014


Mark Westlund, Sierra Club
415-977-5719 –

Tom BK Goldtooth, Ex. Dir. IEN
(218) 751-4967 –

AllRiskNoRewardCoverA new report released today by the Sierra Club and 13 other groups including the Indigenous Environmental Network, examines the proposed expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline and concludes that there are significant threats to water, health and climate. The report, All Risk, No Reward: The Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion, comes in advance of a rally to stop the Alberta Clipper expansion that will take place before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission public hearing in St. Paul, MN on April 3.

“The risks are too high, said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Any spill, leak or explosion could have a devastating effect to the rich biodiversity and cultural diversity of northern Minnesota. The human rights of Native people in northern Alberta, Canada where this crude oil comes from are already being violated. There can be no reward when it comes to dirty oil that ruins the quality of water, ecosystems and the life of people.”

“This report confirms our worst fears about the proposed Alberta Clipper expansion,” said author Sarah Mine. “This tar sands expansion project is far too risky to communities in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, who would be subjected to extreme environmental degradation, extreme carbon pollution, and tremendous threats to their land, water, and health.”

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. plans to pump 800,000 barrels per day of one of the planet’s dirtiest sources of oil through North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This expansion project would almost double the pipeline’s current capacity and put it on par with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Expanding Alberta Clipper’s capacity would expose communities and tribes to tar sands’ full complement of disturbing climate, safety, and environmental implications; potentially devastate cultural and historical resources; give the landlocked tar sands industry access to ports and enormous new overseas markets; and enable the massive, environmentally devastating tar sands growth planned by the industry.

Tar sands crude can be far more dangerous than conventional crude, especially in water, and the proposed expansion project could put the region’s clean water at risk. The tar sands dilbit sinks in water, where standard cleanup techniques do not work. The Alberta Clipper route crosses many bodies of water that are critical as drinking water sources and cultural and ecological sites.

Enbridge Inc. has a disgraceful history of spills, including the worst onshore oil spill in U.S. history when a ruptured Enbridge pipeline poured 843,000 gallons of tar sands crude into Michigan’s Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River.


The Alberta Clipper Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion

AllRiskNoRewardCoverCanadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. plans to pump 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of one of the planet’s dirtiest sources of oil through  North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, endangering our water, health, and climate. Expanding the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline would put federal, state, and tribal lands and waters at risk of devastating oil spills, including the Great Lakes and Anishinaabe/Ojibwe ceded territories. Communities and Native Nations across the Great Lakes region and beyond are fighting this unnecessary and dangerous pipeline expansion, calling instead for clean, renewable energy solutions and a 100% clean energy future.

The Alberta Clipper, also known as Line 67, currently pumps up to 450,000 bpd of tar sands crude from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin. From the Canadian border, the pipeline traverses 327 miles across North Dakota and Minnesota to Wisconsin and the shores of Lake Superior, passing through state, tribal, federal, and private lands, including prairie, forests, farms, rivers, and lakes. Enbridge seeks to almost double the pipeline’s capacity to 800,000 bpd, nearly the same as TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and to construct two new tar sands storage tanks on the shores of Lake Superior.1 Capacity in an existing pipeline is increased by ratcheting up the pressure inside the pipeline, forcing more tar sands through and increasing the physical stress on the pipeline.

Expanding Alberta Clipper’s capacity would expose our communities and tribes to tar sands’ full complement of disturbing climate, safety, and environmental implications; potentially devastate cultural and historical resources; give the landlocked tar sands industry access to ports and
enormous new overseas markets; and enable the massive, environmentally devastating tar sands growth planned by the industry. Click here to Read / Download the full Report (PDF)AllRiskNoRewardReportFooter


Old Horse with a New Name, Lead by the Same Jack Asses!!!

jackassCurrently Enbridge is seeking a Presidential Permit to increase the capacity of the Alberta Clipper.  The “Alberta Clipper,” line 67, is a 36 inch pipeline that currently carries 450,000 bpd of Tar Sands Diluted Bitumen from Hardisty Alberta to Superior Wisconsin.  Enbridge is seeking permission to increase the amount to 880,000 bpd. The Alberta Clipper, was granted a Presidential Permit in 2009 and put into operation in 2010, but due to the large increase of dil-bit they are required to obtain a new Presidential Permit for the expansion. The proposed expansion project would not include constructing new pipeline, but would increase the pressure in the pipelines by adding 17 additional 6,000 hp pumps.  In light of Enbridge’s poor record of spills, including the inlands worst spill in the US – over 1 million gallons of dil- bit in the Kalamazoo River, and 117 violations in their Canada pipelines, it is safe to say a Presidential Permit is still needed.  Rep. Upton is from Michigan, his state has seen the destruction that a pipeline spill can create, yet he is still pushing for a lesser oversight.

Click Here to Read the Full Article

 Minnesota PUC to review Enbridge oil pipeline expansion

1enbridge090213gr_onlineThe line, owned by Enbridge Energy Co., runs from Hardisty, Alberta, across northern Minnesota and ends at an oil terminal in Superior, Wis.

“I am concerned about the potential for disaster,” said Harry Miller, a retired Lutheran clergyman from Eagan who was among the MN350 activists seeking a review of the project.

MN350, which is loosely affiliated with the group fighting TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, requested the inquiry, and was pleased with the decision. Now the group must raise money for a monthslong legal and evidentiary battle before an administrative law judge.

The fight in Minnesota is the latest effort by climate change activists to erect barriers to Canadian oil imports with the goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed Keystone XL line through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, is being fought on similar grounds.

Enbridge, which completed the Alberta Clipper in 2010, plans to invest $159 million in extra pumping stations to increase capacity by 40 percent to 800,000 barrels per day. In July, the company won PUC approval for a smaller capacity increase. The 36-inch pipeline was designed to operate at higher pressure to increase capacity, the company says. Click here to read the full article.

Red Lake encampment battles Enbridge tar sands pipeline on tribal lands

Red Lake Encampment
Red Lake Encampment

Since 1949, Enbridge Energy has been transporting crude oil through its more than six pipelines from Alberta, Canada through northern Minnesotan reservations and across the US. These pipelines, which transport tar sands oil, pass directly through the Leech Lake Reservation, the Fond du Lac Reservation, and the Red Lake reservation.

Through the combined efforts of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN),, and the Sierra club, Marty Cobenais of IEN began an encampment on the Red Lake reservation to halt the current pipelines running through tribal land, as well as stop the expansion of said pipelines.

On June 26th, members of, an advocacy group committed to climate change, organized a bus tour to the Red Lake reservation to see, first hand, the pipelines that run through the lakes, marshes and vast stretches of land.

Cobenais served as the tour guide as we were lead from pumping stations to the tank farm in Clearbrook. We stopped at the site of the 1979 oil spill, and walked along exposed pipelines – both on and off the reservation. Our last stop was the encampment.

Click here to read the full article.

Oil in Your Backyard – MN PUC Approves Enbridge’s Certificate of Need

 Winona LaDuke, Marty Cobenais and Liz Dahl at State of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Winona LaDuke, Marty Cobenais and Liz Dahl at State of Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

On July 17, 2013, The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to approve the Phase 1 expansion of Enbridge Energy LLP Certificate of Need, to expand Line 67 (Alberta Clipper) from the current rate of 450,000 bpd to 570,000 bpd. This increase will be the result of 5 additional 6,000 watt pumps to be installed, there will be no new pipeline put in the ground.

While this is not the end of the fight, it is an interesting event.  Over 100 protesters packed the PUC hearing room.  When the project was introduced, 4 people, Kathy Hollander, Stan Sattinger, Winona LaDuke (Honor the Earth), and Marty Cobenais (IEN)  all walked to the front of the room and sat down at the speaker’s table to speak for the group present and for the people who were unable to attend this meeting.  Immediately, Chairwoman Heydinger announced that there would be no public comments at this meeting and that comments were heard at public hearings held in Clearbrook and Deer River Minnesota.  It should be noted that Enbridge has a strong presence in both of these towns:  Clearbrook is a pipeline hub and it contains over 1.5 million barrels of oil per day in its 9 tanks, and is also a large pumping station, Deer River has a pumping station just outside out town. It should also be noted that the third public comment hearing scheduled in Viking, MN was cancelled due to a snow storm and never rescheduled. Click here to read the full article.

Enbridge Spill in Viking, MN


viking-enbridge-1Viking, MN – The small northern western Minnesota town of approximately100 people was the site of the latest Alberta Canada tar sands pipeline oil spill.  Enbridge Energy made the initial report that 600 gallons (15 barrels) of oil was released at the Viking Station, from line 67.  This is also known as the Alberta Clipper pipeline, which was completed in 2011.  Enbridge is currently seeking permission to increase the amount of oil from 450,000 barrels to 570,000 barrels per day, but was added another application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to increase the flow to the maximum of 880,000 barrels.  This is the same diameter of pipeline the TransCanada Keystone XL, 800,000 barrels per day, which is under great scrutiny in its Presidential Permit application.

An Enbridge official on the scene stated that the leak was detected by workers doing maintenance. The official said the workers smelled oil and upon inspection, they discovered the leak.  The leak was determined to be at a “Transmitter”.  The transmitter is the unit that measures the amount of pressure in the pipeline.  This leak was small enough to not signal the main terminal that there was a leak.  The transmitter is at the end of a 2-inch pipe that is screwed into the main pipeline. The Enbridge employee stated that the leak was in the threads.  He stated that it was Line 2 and not Line 67, but after further questions as to other parts he was unsure of what pipelines locations were. Click here to read the full article.

Breaking: Enbridge’s Line 67 tar sands pipeline… an estimated 600 gallons spilled near Viking, Minnesota

Line 9 on the Map - from the Enbridge website.
Line 9 on the Map – from the Enbridge website.

IEN News Update:

Enbridge’s Line 67 tar sands pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons near Viking, Minnesota. The Indigenous Environmental Network is en route to the spill site to gather more information. Stay tuned.

The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center website reports the details of the incident:


It is reported the leak has stopped and Enbridge is working on cleanup operations now. The spill does not appear to have reached water.

Click here to read the full article.


Red Lake Members take on Enbridge Energy, one arrested

3577_586169538061665_1959364362_nBemidji, MN— In a David vs. Goliath fight, David took the fight to Goliath.  At 1:05 pm, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.  Thirty people including; members of the group Nizhawendaamin Indaakiminaan (We Love Our Land), tribal members from Red Lake, members of other native communities, and non-natives joined forces and peacefully protested and engaged in civil disobedience, resulting in the arrest of Angie Palacio, a Red Lake Member and mother of four.

Red Lake members have been taking on Enbridge Energy for the past 42 days on 8.5 acres of land belonging to the Red Lake tribe near Leonard, MN.  Nizhawendamin Indaakiminaan contends that Enbridge has been illegally trespassing on Red Lake land since 1949, and they are demanding that the oil stop flowing and the pipelines be removed from the reservation lands immediately.  In August of 2012, Red Lake Tribal Chairman, Floyd “Buck” Jourdain, sent Enbridge a “Cease and Desist” letter stating the same requests, yet Enbridge has refused to acknowledge either demand.

Enbridge was served with an eviction notice, citing the Red Lake tribal court trespassing laws, by the protesters on April 10, 2013.  The demand was made that they cease all flow of oil within the pipelines and remove the pipelines on Red Lake property. “Enbridge has been trespassing on our lands for 64 years,” Palacio stated, “I am willing to be arrested for trespassing on their land, to prove a point to this arrogant company.” Click here to read the full article and watch video report.

Occupy Enbridge: Taking a Stand on Red Lake Sovereign Land

Nisawa`igan (Tipi) – Enbridge Encampment / Photo by Jenna Pope

To the southwest of the Red Lake Anishinaabe Nation, lie desolate, wooded lands that were opened for settlement and home-steading under the Agreement of 1889. In 1945, Oscar Chapman, Assistant Secretary of Interior, signed an Order of Restoration that restored unsold ceded lands of the Agreements of 1889 and 1904 to the Red Lake Band. Although most of the southwestern ceded land was sold during 1889 land rush, several areas remained unsold and were returned to Red Lake, including eight acres located outside the town of Leonard, MN.

In 1949, the Lakehead Pipe Line Company built an underground pipeline on the ceded land outside Leonard. Lakehead was the U.S. base of operations for Canada’s Interprovincial Pipe Line Co. (IPL – owned by Exxon predecessor Standard Oil of New Jersey). Other Lakehead pipelines followed in 1958, 1962, and 1972. In 1998, IPL changed its name to Enbridge Inc., a name that combined “energy” and “bridge.”

On February 28, 2013, Marty Cobenais, a Red Lake member and a Tar Sands organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, entered the Red Lake ceded land site. Accompanied by several Red Lake Band members, Native, and non-Native supporters, Cobenais occupied the Enbridge pipelines that were considered to be illegally on Red Lake ceded land. Click here to read the full article.



Enbridge Expansion Fact Sheet: Affecting Fond Du Lac, Leech Lake, Red Lake

Enbridge Pipeline spill site, Deer River, MN
Enbridge Pipeline spill site, Deer River, MN

In 2009 Enbridge Energy L.P. received a Presidential Permit to construct the Alberta Clipper Pipeline (Line 67) and the Southern Lights Diluent Pipeline.

The Alberta Clipper Pipeline was completed and operational in 2010 and carries 440, 000 Barrels per day (bpd) of DilBit (Diluted Bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands).  Enbridge is currently seeking permits to increase the amount of DilBit per day to 570,000 bpd, with plans to increase it to 800,000 bpd. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MNPUC) and the US Department of State(DOS) both have to issue permits before the expansion can happen.

In 2008, the Leech Lake and Fond-du-Lac Tribes signed 20 year easements with Enbridge and received payment.

Although the Red Lake Nation has not signed any easements or agreements with Enbridge, the company trespassed, and illegally constructed and maintained pipelines on Red Lake ceded lands, near the town of Leonard, MN. The Alberta Clipper and Southern Lights Pipelines were also constructed in these ceded lands.

In 2011 this issue was brought to light and the Red Lake Tribal Council has now offered Enbridge an easement settlement in the amount of $10 million dollars.  Enbridge has counter offered Red Lake $375,000. Red Lake rejected the counter offer and then issued a cease and desist order through the BIA. Enbridge and Red Lake are now in an additional round of negotiations.

The Red Lake Nation has considered several different options, including; Land exchange, Signing an easement with a mutually agreed upon payment; charging Enbridge with trespassing; Injunctions stopping the flow of the oil in the pipelines, and; Removal of the pipelines from the ceded lands altogether. Click here to read the full article.

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