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Environmental Experts Comment on PolyMet, Enbridge

Updated: 02/08/2014 10:32 PM
Created: 02/08/2014 9:24 PM WDIO.com
By: Emily Haavik
ehaavik@wdio.com

Two environmental experts visited Duluth on Saturday to share their views on some controversial area projects.

Paula Maccabee is the legal counsel for WaterLegacy, and Winona LaDuke is an author, economist, and the executive director of Honor the Earth. Both of them spoke at St. Scholastica Saturday evening, voicing their concerns about PolyMet as well as the Enbridge pipeline expansion.

LaDuke said she is concerned about cumulative effects of both.

"The reality is that the combined fossil fuel impact of those mines and those pipelines is immense," she said. "It's going to mean tankers on the Great Lakes, full of a lot more and a lot more pollution in our region. I think it's worth asking the question, why Minnesota should be a conduit for the largest amount of tar sands oil that's moving across the country right now."

Maccabee is an environmental lawyer in Minnesota. She said she worries about tribal rights in these situations, as well.

"What's at stake here are literally hundreds of years of pollution," she said. "And that means clean drinking water, clean streams, wild rice, tribal rights and resources, and human health would all be at risk in northeastern Minnesota and specifically the Lake Superior basin for a long, long time."

Both Maccabee and LaDuke are proponents of indigenous land-based economics. The event at St. Scholastica took place between 6 and 9 p.m. on Saturday.

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