A measure that moves forward the controversial Enbridge Pipeline passed the Republican-controlled Minnesota House Thursday night as part of a major jobs bill. Farmington Republican Pat Garofalo says, “If after two-and-a-half years, if a regulatory body [the Public Utilities Commission] can’t take action, this body is not gonna stand by and ignore it, and today this problem ends and we take action!” Native Americans say the pipeline will endanger two-thirds of North America’s wild rice beds, which are sacred to their culture. Saint Louis Park Democrat Peggy Flanagan likened it to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota. “This is something that has played out repeatedly through history, where somehow Native lives matter just a little bit less than those around them,” she says.
Flanagan adds, “Native people are often ‘in the way.’ Well, there are agreements that we have, like the 1855 Treaty, which says that we maintain the right to hunt, to fish, and to harvest wild rice. And Pipeline Three, Line Three, puts that at risk.” But Aitkin Republican Dale Lueck says they’re trying to replace the old line to protect the environment. “Do we want to keep delaying this to the point where we have an accident?” he asks. “We’ll ruin some wild rice if we do that.”
Rep. Garofalo’s comments on the House floor:
Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn spoke in opposition: