Mustafa Harabou writes on the Enbridge corporation’s environmental destruction alongside the failures of Western governments in combatting pollution
March 3rd 1991. A pipeline carrying 22 million gallons of crude oil ruptured across the wetlands of the Prairie River in Grand Rapid, Minnesota. 1.7 million gallons of oil quickly spilling into the wetlands. The owner of the 16-acre patch, Henry Hutchins, is a few miles away teaching in a local school. Hutchins had hoped to convert the wetlands into a living laboratory for his students, this was not happening anymore, and for the next 2 hours mishaps, errors and bad judgment calls by the pipeline operators would cause the main valve not to be shut off.
The events that were unfolding here would later come to be known as the single largest inland oil spill in the history of the US, and as if nature itself was extending its arm and saving humanity from the damnation of its own wrongdoing the Prairie river just so happened to covered in ice – just enough to help the cleanup crew to keep the oil from reaching the Mississippi river, which was just two miles 2 miles away. One could only imagine the extent of damage caused if the oil did reach the nearly 15 million people that rely on the Mississippi river
One must ask themselves if this did happen would anyone in a position of power to avert this care?
What was unearthed in later investigations was that for the last 30 years that the same line that had ruptured in the grand rapids, had a total of 24 leaks all stemming from the same issue and hadn’t been quality tested for any faults for 16 years.
See, the failure at the wetlands aren’t a one-off, they are just an example of the array of human-induced errors that have led to numerous oil spills and leaks that Enbridge alone is responsible for. Over 1,068 of them in fact, across the nation in droves damaging wildlife, natural biospheres and spaces, contaminating drinking water and rendering entire population and communities crippled overnight with no hint of justice or repatriation for the irreversible damage caused.
Again, how are we letting this happen?
Now at the forefront of technological advancement and modernity, the latest stage of human development is meant to be a time in which we are the precipice of human morality according to western liberal thought. But yet, the US and Canadian governments are complicit at every level of ecological destruction. The wanton disregard for human rights continues – let alone the numerous violated treaties.
When Enbridge proposed plans to expand its notorious Line 3 through Alberta Canada, into Lake Superior, Wisconsin US, it was met with indigenous and local opposition. The new pipeline carrying bitumen – which can cause significantly more damage than conventional crude oil – is poised to cut through treaty territory of the Anishinaabe people, as well as the land of rural working-class families who are in complete opposition to this corporation’s occupation and ecocide.
The US courts are incompetent and work to serve the interests of the banks that fund these corporations and their greed. The same big banks and financial backers who were pulling the strings in Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline are once again serving as the economic driving power in this state-sanctioned ecocide. Banks such as Citibank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo inside the US and Bank of Montreal, Mizuho and MUFG outside the US all have forgone their morality in order to pump billions into these death contracts and loans that will help Enbridge in construction of the pipeline.
Both the liberal and the conservative ruling elite are in perpetual servitude to the fossil fuel lobby – the impostor politicians in Washington DC exist for the interest of big business and international oil and gas. Corporations that have had the most significant impact on emissions use the strong hand of the American Petroleum Institute to quite literally bribe and avert justice from local communities. They obstruct progressive and crucial climate legislation from even being considered by throwing money at the crooked politicians that are meant to be serving their people and constituents. Such brazen corruption should be met by the public outing these politicians and how much they receive. Currently, Democratic senator for West Virginia, Joe Manchin leads with bribe incomes, with $577,060 received from just the oil and natural gas lobby. (note: although U.S law forbids foreign entities from making political contributions, international corporations officially make contributions through their U.S subsidiary – how convenient.)
The shocking injustice, however, is not limited to the legislative level and slimy desks in Washington – it also seeps into policing. Reports and documents obtained by The Guardian and The Intercept unveil how Enbridge has paid the Minnesota police up to $2.4 million dollars for – arresting, mistreating and surveilling the various indigenous protestors as well sharing sensitive information about them. Representatives of Enbridge have also held secret meetings with Minnesota police force. Enbridge’s dirty money was funnelled into a special account which covered overtime pay, bonuses, equipment (which would be later used to abuse protestors), hotel and travel expenses.
However, the destructive tactics of Enbridge are merely reflective of the failures of Western governments in combatting climate change. Between 2011-2018 fossil fuel industry lobbyists in Canada recorded 11,452 lobbying contacts with Canadian government officials.
Our obligation, not just as Marxist-Leninists, but as human beings with a conscious is to put a spear into the heart of the dragon, to do so as pragmatic and as scientifically as we can, to cause as much disruption to the operations and plans of companies like Enbridge that profit off of ecological destruction. It is vital that we offer our unwavering support to the direct action being taken by the protestors who are in defiance to these corporate invaders and polluters.
“You were taught that you control nature, remember how water seems pent in and trapped, till the dam breaks and crumbles and dies like its maker. To blockade life’s plan is cruel, blind, deadly to those that imprison the force to be free” – John Africa