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President Joe Biden. - BIKSUTONG / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

  • BiksuTong / Shutterstock.com
  • President Joe Biden.

All 12 federally acknowledged tribes in Michigan despatched a letter to President Joe Biden and his administration Friday, urging him to lend robust assist to the state’s effort to shut down the controversial, 78-year-old Line 5 oil pipeline owned by Canadian firm Enbridge.

“The Governor, the Legal professional Normal, and our Tribal Nations want your Administration’s assist,” the letter reads. “… Throughout your marketing campaign, you promised that you’d heed our considerations and act to defend our basic pursuits.

“We view Line 5 as an existential risk to our treaty-protected rights, assets, and basic lifestyle as Anishinaabe individuals of the Nice Lakes.”

The 12 tribes — the Bay Mills Indian Neighborhood (BMIC), Grand Traverse Bay of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Hannahville Indian Neighborhood, Keweenaw Bay Indian Neighborhood, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe), Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians — make up the Three Fires Confederacy of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi.

All are publicly opposed to Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline and its proposed tunnel-enclosed alternative within the Straits of Mackinac.

BMIC President Whitney Gravelle led the hassle. The letter was additionally despatched to a listing of prime state and federal officers, together with: U.S. Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland and his assistant attorneys normal; U.S. Inside Secretary Deb Haaland; U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken; Environmental Safety Company (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan; Michigan Legal professional Normal Dana Nessel; Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.); U.S. Power Secretary Jennifer Granholm; U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and extra.

Whitmer and Nessel are at present locked in a number of court docket battles with Enbridge to shut down the pipeline, all however one in every of that are on pause proper now as a federal decide deliberates if litigation needs to be heard in state or federal court docket. Whitmer revoked and terminated Enbridge’s easement with the state final fall and ordered a Line 5 shutdown by the spring, which the corporate is resisting.

In her discover of revocation and termination, Whitmer cited treaty rights and the considerations of Indigenous residents within the state as one of many major causes to shut down the pipeline. She particularly talked about the 1836 Treaty of Washington, which ceded Ojibwe and Odawa lands in Michigan in change for fishing, looking and gathering rights on the treaty territory.

Biden has to this point been silent on the difficulty of Line 5. It isn’t clear whether or not he’s supportive of Whitmer’s makes an attempt to shut it down, though the 2 are shut allies.

“In distinction to Canada’s vocal assist of Enbridge, and regardless of what we perceive to be the Governor’s requests for assist, your Administration has to date been silent concerning Line 5,” the tribes write. “The juxtaposition couldn’t be extra stark and will properly be obvious to the federal decide contemplating the matter.”

The tribes’ letter makes three major asks of Biden.

The primary is for the president to file an official assertion of curiosity through the U.S. Division of Justice (DOJ) affirming the validity of Whitmer’s Could 12 shutdown order, which Enbridge has to this point to adjust to till Whitmer wins a court docket order. The tribes additionally ask that his assertion of curiosity urge a speedy judicial decision of challenges to the shutdown order.

“The Justice Division’s voice carries nice weight … Your Administration shouldn’t stay silent right here,” the letter reads.

The second ask is for Biden to significantly think about revocation of the 1991 Presidential Allow that permits the pipeline to function. Citing Enbridge’s repeated security violations through the years and their makes an attempt to thwart Whitmer’s shutdown order, the tribes say that this consideration needs to be taken within the face of Enbridge’s “lawless motion.”

Lastly, the tribal nations request that Biden present them with a seat on the negotiating desk. Particularly, they ask to have the opportunity to take part in any negotiations with Canada concerning the pipeline with a single designated consultant.

“We possess rights and pursuits within the integrity of the Nice Lakes that date back to time immemorial, and which are protected by solemn treaties with america lengthy predating the settlement Canada rests on,” the letter reads.

In early October, Canada signaled that it had (*5*) dispute settlement mechanisms in its 1977 Treaty with america that offers with pipelines. The nation’s makes an attempt to pause court docket proceedings in State of Michigan v Enbridge till treaty talks with officers from each international locations are full have to this point been unsuccessful.

A Biden administration official didn’t remark instantly on the letter in an e mail on Friday, however stated they “anticipate that each the U.S. and Canada will interact constructively in [the 1977 Treaty] negotiations.

“As well as to being one in every of our closest allies, Canada stays a key U.S. companion in power commerce in addition to efforts to handle local weather change and defend the setting,” the official stated.

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy additionally didn’t remark instantly on the letter. He stated the corporate helps the tribes’ sovereignty and treaty rights, the federal authorities upholding these treaty rights, the restoration of treaty rights and the acknowledgment of historic reservation boundaries.

“There are thousands and thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies on each side of the border who’re depending on Line 5 to present the gasoline they want for heating, manufacturing, airplanes, roads and cars. Line 5 is important power infrastructure every day to Michigan, 4 different states and Canada’s two largest provinces,” Duffy stated.

Nonetheless, the anti-Line 5 Oil & Water Don’t Combine coalition is “actively supportive” of the letter, stated spokesman David Holtz. Nationwide Wildlife Federation (NWF) Nice Lakes Regional Govt Director Mike Shriberg informed the Advance that the letter is “highly effective and clear” and “represents a big escalation of the asks in entrance of Biden.”

“Canada is trying to hijack tribal treaty rights, United States and Michigan sovereignty and the U.S. courts on behalf of Enbridge,” Holtz stated Friday. “President Biden can’t stay silent whereas Canada and Enbridge put Michigan and the Nice Lakes in danger. The president ought to assist Gov. Whitmer and reject Canada’s try to delay the orderly decommissioning of Line 5.”

This text was initially printed by Michigan Advance. It’s republished right here with permission.

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