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ENVIRONMENTAL Twists and turns in Sandpiper permitting EIS issue taken to the Minnesota Supreme Court McGregor Minn.Railroad tanker cars haul Northern Plains crude oil through Ojibwe Country each day carrying the risk of explosive derail- mentsmost recently witnessed in GalenaIllinoiswhererailcarssplitopen burstingintoflames.InplaceslikeMille Lacs Bands Sandy Lake and East Lake communitiesremotelocationsrichin fresh water resourcesa potential rail disaster involving crude oil poses a web of challenges for public safety officials. We have a unique jurisdictional situationinthisareasaidMonteFronk Mille Lacs Band MLB Emergency Management Officer. Anytime you haveachecker-boardedcommunityyou have to have good relationships with Mille Lacs Band local governments prepare for oil disaster By Charlie Otto Rasmussen Staff Writer Monte Fronk Mille Lacs Band emergency management officer discusses public safety issues during the MLBAitkin County Crude Disaster Tabletop Exercise. Event sponsor US Environmental Protection Agency and nearly two dozen additional organizations participated in the event designed to prepare regional emergency services personnel for an oil tanker train derailment that threatens both local communities and the environment. photo by COR TheresmorewaitandseeontheprogressofEnbridgesproposedSandpiper pipelineaspermittingissuesgetresolvedincourt.RecentlyEnbridgeandtheState of Minnesota petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to review anAppeals Court ruling that overturned the grant of a certificate of need for the proposed pipeline. The petition was filed on October 14 2015. Earlier on September 14 Minnesota State Court of Appeals Judge Klaphake delayed progress for Enbridges proposed 600-mile Sandpiper pipeline that would cut through northern Minnesota potentially impacting valued manoomin wild rice beds and waterbodies in the event of pipeline leaks. In his ruling Judge Klaphake found that the Minnesota Public Utility Com- mission PUC wrongly granted a certificate of need to Enbridge without requiring a formal environmental impact statement EIS. A certificate of need is required to determine if the proposed project is necessary and in the public interest. In the past the PUC commonly considered the certificate of need and the routingcertificatetogetherrequiringaformalEIS.ButinthecaseoftheSandpiper proposal the PUC chose to separate the proceedings for each certificate handling the certificate of need first and if granted proceeding with the routing certificate and a formal EIS. The PUC did order an environmental review when considering the certificate of need but that falls short of Minnesota Environmental Protection Agencys MEPA EIS requirements. Ultimately the PUC granted the certificate of need last June but was chal- lenged by Friends of the Headwaters who appealed the PUC decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals resulting in Judge Klaphakes decision. Project proposers Enbridge Energy and its subsidiary North Dakota Pipeline Company had until October 14 2015 deadline to file the appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. By Sue Erickson Staff Writer Pipelines and other forms of environmental degradation are concerning especially for manoomin. Tribes have intensified manoomin restoration efforts throughout the Ceded Territories. Above GLIFWC Wildlife Technician Adam Oja reseeds a Vilas County lake. photo by Dylan Jenning AtMazinaiganpresstimeauthoritiesareinvestigatingtwoseparatetankertrain derailmentsthatcausedfuelleakagesandcommunityevacuations.Theincidents involved North Dakota crude oil and approximately 20000 gallons of ethanol which spilled into the Mississippi River. Both occurred south of the Ceded Territory border in Wisconsin in early November. COR your neighbors to handle emergency situations. North and east of the main reserve on Lake Mille Lacs the Band holds scattered parcels interwoven with county state and federal property. The areaisruralbutoccupiedbysmallcom- munities homes and farmsteads. WithfundingfromtheUSEnviron- mental ProtectionAgency EPA Mille Lacs Band MLB officials teamed up withAitkinCountyandnearlytwodozen additional emergency service providers September 10 to plan a response to an oil spill in the ecologically sensitive landscape of east-central Minnesota. EPA contractor Tetra Tech used a mix of prerecorded television news updates and intermittent audio briefings to dra- matize a massive crude oil train derail- ment adjacent to Portage Lake and the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Aitkin County. Seated at rows of tables within the McGregorCommunityCentermenand womenmany in uniformenumer- ated all the resources they had available in response to the disaster. Police fire ambulance and public health services were well-represented along with unanticipated players like the US Coast Guard-Duluth which would sweep in with watercraft and booms to corral oil spilling into Portage Lake. Many federal agencies work very well with the Mille Lacs Band Fronk said. With a disaster scenario like this everyone has a role to play. Fronk said many of the recent tabletop exercise participants were involved in similar MLB-sponsored trainings five years ago while some agency heads have moved on. We needed to get everybody in the room again after turnovers in significant positions. A string of dramatic accidents involving crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana in recent years has put public safety officials near rail lines on guard. Even thoughoilproductioniscurrentlybelow its peak rigs still pump 1.2 million barrels of crude from the Bakken fields every day. The deadly explosion in the small Quebec village Lac-Megantic lurks as a bleak reminder of how dangerous oil trains can be in 2013 an unmanned train with 72 tank cars rolled downhill into the village broke apartanddumped1.5milliongallonsof crude oil. In the inferno that followed 47 people were killed. While poorly maintained railroads and other cost-cutting decisions by rail companies has been part of the oil spill problem BNSF Burlington Northern Santa Fe Roadmaster Nels Christian- sen told the McGregor gathering that maintaining lines of communication is importantfollowingapotentialdisaster. Were experienced with this. This is something weve done before Christiansen said. Well help you out. Christiansen added that BNSF has a number of emergency-response contractors that can be dispatched on short notice to mitigate environmental damage from spills. MAZINAIGAN PAGE 2 WINTER 2015-16