By Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, May 19, 2015
Your input makes a difference: Please join us for a public hearing. Hear expert testimony and share your thoughts on the proposed pipeline.
Friday June 5th, 10:00am
East Lake Community Center
36666 State Hwy 65
McGregor, MN, 55760
In the matter of the application of Enbridge Energy, which seeks to construct the Sandpiper Pipeline along a route that may result in an environmental impact on lands and waters on or near the East Lake Community of the Mille Lacs Reservation, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has held a series of hearings taking testimony from the public and local governments.
No hearings were held on any of the Indian reservations that will be impacted by this project. Therefore, under the authority of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as a sovereign Indian Nation charged with protecting the welfare of its Members, the Chief Executive hereby announces a Public Hearing scheduled for June 5, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. at the East Lake Community Center. The purpose of this hearing is to collect information from Band Members and experts regarding:
(1) Concerns regarding oil spills and the potential risks to surface and ground water on or near the East Lake Community and lands held in federal trust status for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe;
(2) Concerns regarding the self-sufficiency of individual Band members and cultural practices, such as harvesting wild rice within the Big Sandy Lake and Rice Lake watersheds, including the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge;
(3) The legal implications of the lack of consultation with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe;
(4) The legal implications of the lack of consultation with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) regarding to the identification of lands along the pipeline route related to their historical, archeological and cultural significance; and
(5) The potential legal involvement of the federal government: First, whether the Department of the Interior is properly carrying out its Trust Responsibility with regard to federal and tribal land; Second, whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the safety of the Sandpiper Pipeline project to lands and waters important to Indian tribes and federal land; and Third, whether the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) should conduct an EIS to assess the potential impact of the Sandpiper project to wetlands and waters under its jurisdiction.
This hearing will be held pursuant to 4 MLBSA Section 12(a) (3), wherein the Chief Executive is authorized to hold hearings for the following purposes: To investigate and inquire into matters affecting the general welfare of the Band or its organs of government.
The hearing shall be held in accordance with MLBSA Section 13. A hearing examiner will be appointed to conduct these hearings. Expert witnesses will be called concerning matters 1-5 as related above. Band Members who wish to testify at this hearing are invited to attend. Band Member employees who wish to testify at this hearing should notify their supervisors in advance to make arrangements to do so.