Group opposes Leech Lake oil pipelineby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
Bemidji, Minn. — A grassroots group on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation is mounting a petition campaign against a proposed oil pipeline.
The Leech Lake Tribal Council approved a deal with Enbridge Energy to allow the pipeline to run across the reservation. But some tribal members have presented petitions asking the council to cancel the deal, or to put it to a referendum vote.
Marty Cobenais, a spokesman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said people are worried about possible leaks from the pipeline.
"The Leech Lake Reservation is 50 percent water, so the odds are pretty good that if there's going to be a leak within Leech Lake, it's going to hit one of the aquifers really quickly," Cobenais said.
The line would parallel an existing pipeline, which brings crude oil from Canada's tar sands to a refinery in Superior, Wisconsin.
Enbridge says the line is being built to respond to demand for more crude oil.