Overview of Enbridge Pipelines Trespass
From a historical standpoint
The Red Lake Band has had to be creative in the past in how they addressed difficult issues during different times throughout history. Our historical leaders have had to deal with very difficult decisions over the years and have done so by ensuring they fully understood the issues and consequences. No Red Lake member or descendent wants to sell our Reservation or open it to any outsider. Those values have been clear throughout history. However, the Red Lake Band even with those value systems has had to make tough decisions in the past.
The Red Lake Band has made land exchanges in the past under the leadership of prior administrations (Roger Jourdain, Gerald F. (Butch) Brun).
The pipelines on our land have been on our parcel for at least 65 years.
The pipelines have been on a small parcel of trust land located roughly twenty miles off the main reservation near Leonard, MN.
In the 1980s, the BIA discovered that the pipelines appeared to be in trespass, but the United States discontinued the program looking into Indian land trespasses; then in 2007, [the] BIA "rediscovered" that the pipelines were in trespass.
Discussions between Red Lake and Enbridge started in late 2007 regarding the sixty-five-year trespass of the pipelines under former Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr. and his selected group of people.
This is NOT an agreement about the highly contested Sandpiper oil pipeline issue.
This resolution that was passed is not a new agreement to let an oil pipeline do anything they are not already doing on our trust land.
The outcome of an agreement
The Band wants a clear and total separation from any relationship with Enbridge, which includes allowing an oil company to hold a tribal business license or sharing a property line.
The Band avoids a long and costly court battle that would end in sharing a property line with Enbridge. We cannot shut down the pipeline. The best the Band could accomplish is forcing Enbridge to move the pipelines.
This is in no way a compromise, but a complete and total win that Red Lake could not have gotten in any court. The Council had, at some point prior to 2014, valued the trespass at ten million dollars.
The Red Lake Band is now free to join other tribes in the fight against the Sandpiper Pipeline, a pipeline that threatens a significant amount of wild rice beds throughout the heart of Minnesota.
The Red Lake Band and its leaders know that fossil fuel dependency is destroying our world. With the agreement in place, Red Lake can now move forward with our oil dependency reduction plans which include:
1. The development of a 100-acre solar energy farm, which reduces dependency on coal fire plants that contaminate our lake with mercury. Shipping coal from several states away creates huge shipping costs for electric companies and they pass those costs on to the consumer.
2. Developing plans to raise our own food locally. Shipping food from other countries and several states away three times a week is a win for oil companies, but growing our own food year-round and locally saves us over 20,000 miles a month in shipping distance of our food. Aquaponics systems can help us grow our own fish, vegetables and fruits locally throughout the year.
3. Exploring biodiesel currently, the Band plans on moving more and more of its fleet of vehicles to biodiesel and hybrids to reduct the amount of oil and gasoline (which is produced from oil) that we consume weekly.
Our ancestors worked together in the past to help each other and we must do so now as well. Together we can all work hard in a good way to promote a healthier and safer future for the next generations. A future not dependent on fossil fuels strengthens our sovereignty and is the most effective way our Band can help keep oil pipelines from crossing Minnesota.