By Winona LaDuke
The recent expose' by the Detroit Lakes Tribune about the ill-fated White Earth tribal casino plan for Star Lake was enlightening as well as disturbing. As an investigation into the land purchase and contracts to build the casino moves forward, there are more questions to be asked. In all, the White Earth Band allegedly paid over $3.2 million for property that was valued at approximately $444,900. That's seems questionable in terms of fiscal responsibility. At the same time, it seems that buying back your own land as a tribe, is very expensive and murky.
As the geese fly to the south, I am thinking how I would like them to return to the beauty of water and lakes again. For that beauty, thousands of Minnesotans have spent five years trying to make the system work, asking the Public Utilities Commission to protect the interests of the state of Minnesota, the geese, and the Indigenous people by reducing our risk of pipeline spills and climate change exposure. We asked them to look out for the little guys, that's us. Then on Nov. 19, they did the exact opposite.
Apparently $5 million is the price to buy a pipeline route in Minnesota. In an unprecedented move, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued a 5-0 approval of the Certificate of Need for Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. In a second move they approved tentatively a route permit for the company's preferred route, awaiting modifications by the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. Never before has the Public Utilities Commission diverged from both the Administrative Law Judge and the Department of Commerce recommendations.
The administration of President Donald Trump recently announced a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels to bolster, one assumes, a dying fossils-fuels industry and, possibly, to promote "Made in the USA." At the same time, the solar industry is predicting some significant declines in the market, especially in utility scale. These tariffs may reduce projected new solar construction in the U.S. by 7.6 gigawatts over the next five years, according to GTM Research. We shall see.