Wednesday, 10/20 – “Dear Joe, is an inevitable tragedy an accident?”

10/20 Action: Write him and ask.

Sample letter: Dear Joe,

Californians awoke to another “accident” – a beach covered in oil, dead fish and wildlife. An anchor snagged a pipeline, leaking 588 barrels of oil. It joins 17 similar incidents, and more will come as the storms of climate change blow ships off-course, anchors dragging.

Is Enbridge’s next catasphrophe an “accident?” This foreign corporation, with 800 spills in the last 15 years, including our nation’s worst inland oil spill, has already breached an aquifer constructing Line 3, and spilled drilling fluid 28 times. Its line carries Canada’s tar sands oil – toxic sludge born in the destruction of boreal forests, whose first tears are acid rain, and whose waste – petcokepoisons poorer countries and shreds our atmosphere. And between its birth and its burning, it crosses 227 water bodies, until human error, frost heave, or corrosion allow it to drift to the bottom, poisonous and unrecoverable.

Can actuaries quantify the risk to rice fields noted in records from the 1600’s, rice so sacred that it’s the first plant species in the US to be granted legal personhood, with legal rights to “flourish, regenerate, and evolve” in “pure water and freshwater habitat” and “a healthy climate.” How about the risk of poisoning Lake Superior, drinking water for 40 million? 

Joe, stop this pipeline in the name of Native treaties, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the National Historic Preservation Act, the EO on the Protection of Sacred Sites and the “disproportionate and adverse impacts” on Native people noted in the EIS.

Stop this pipeline for the Paris Accords. Even without the CEPP, preventing 50 new coal plants’ or 38 million additional cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere every year for the next three to five decades and a “social cost of carbon” to MN of $287 billion, is significant.

Stop this pipeline BEFORE the inevitable “accident” occurs, and we’re forced to quantify irreparable loss.

Contact Joe here:

10/13 Action: “Dear Joe, did you mean what you said about listening to Indigenous peoples?”

If you haven’t done Monday’s tasks yet, go here.

Today’s letter to Joe is a riff on what he promised in his proclamation declaring Indigenous People’s Day. Use what you want of it, or better yet, read the proclamation, and use your own voice.

Sample letter: Dear Joe,

In your proclamation, you wrote “…History demonstrates that Native American people — and our Nation as a whole — are best served when Tribal governments are empowered to lead their communities and when Federal officials listen to and work together with Tribal leaders when formulating Federal policy that affects Tribal NationsThe Federal Government has a solemn obligation to lift up and invest in the future of Indigenous people and empower Tribal Nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions...”

I read it through several times and was struck by the evident respect and admiration for our nation’s Indigenous peoples. I’m writing to ask if you meant what you said. If your words were real. Actionable.

Joe, Tribal leaders have been speaking for a long time against oil pipelines. They have spoken both in the dry language of our courts, and, at great personal risk, in the ancient language of humans holding a line and saying “no further.” At the behest and financial incitement of the foreign corporation behind Line 3, American law enforcement has replyed in the brutal language of oppression. They have pepper sprayed, shot rubber bullets and incarcerated. They have arrested or cited more than 600 protesters, including Tribal elders.

Native Americans want the investment you wrote about – but in a future without the threat of catastrophic oil leakage, a future with jobs removing old pipeline and restoring their land, laying new sewer and water pipes, creating renewable energy infrastructure and an environmental and economic legacy for their great-children.

They have been speaking, Joe, and now they are at your gate, at great effort and expense. Being arrested. Handcuffed. Asking for a federal official to listen.

Joe, you wrote about our solemn obligation. Here is your chance to be truly transformative. Ask the tribal leaders in. They are right outside. Ask questions. Listen. And then make your proclamation real.

Contact Joe here:

More information here. This earlier action discusses pipeline leaks, Embridge’s record, their dirty product – tar sands’ oil, and the byproduct of cleaning that oil – petroleum “coke.”

Monday, 10/11 – Dear Joe…

Dear Joe,

Thank you for being the first president to make an official proclamation honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 

Today, we ask you to do more…to act for the Indigenous, Brown, Black, and low-income communities whose lives have been impacted from living on the frontlines of our climate emergency, those forced to live within the pall and destruction of fracking sites, oil wells, pipelines and refineries, plastic plants and more. Over the years these communities have written thousands of messages to politicians, attended countless hearings, testified hundreds of times, and have placed their bodies on the line when needed, all the while our government continued to ignore the science and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and steers us toward climate catastrophe. 

We have everything to lose and no time to wait. In every day of drought, in every 500-year flood, in every once-in-a lifetime hurricane, in every burned-out neighborhood, in every child struggling to breathe, we see a future, one of food shortages, displacement, pandemics and more. For all of us.

President Biden, you promised to address the climate emergency and a history of environmental injustice, but so far, your administration continues to allow the fossil fuel industry to poison our communities. You could stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Line 3 pipeline and Formosa Plastics plant with a stroke of your pen, but your inaction is continuing widespread environmental injustice and the violation of Indigenous rights and rights of nature. 

We voted for your “Justice 40” initiative; we voted for a leader to help stop the destruction of fenceline communities, homelands and neighborhoods by the fossil fuel industry, and to demand equity, restorative justice actions for the same.

We didn’t vote for a place-holder for the future. We voted for a transformative leader now.

Contact Joe here:

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