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One way to help the Cree people, and ourselves, is to endorse and elect public servants who fight aggressively for environmental protection and energy-efficient policy. We need truly renewable energy sources, strict controls on environmentally-devatasting practices, and politicians who are savvy about such issues--politicians willing to lead us in ways that might hurt us economically in the short-term but will benefit us and our kids with far greater rewards in the long-term.

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Here's an example of a resolution which you can adapt to fit a particular organization. This was written for Minnesota's state Democratic Farm Labor party caucuses in March 2000.

Whereas:

Energy conservation could reduce anticipated future demand for electricity, and other sources of power are available besides Manitoba Hydro;

Purchase of Manitoba Hydro's power links the state firmly to the continuing destruction of the culture and economic base of the Cree; and

Dependence upon Manitoba's hydropower removes incentives to develop truly renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in Minnesota; and

Manitoba hydropower is a false "renewable", involving release of greenhouse gasses comparable to burning fossil fuels, and environmental destruction on a vast scale; and

Dollars sent north do not create jobs in the utility industry here, nor in a restructured industry; and

The destruction of boreal forest and uplands has undocumented consequences for Minnesota's migratory species; and

The destruction of North American habitat, fish and wildlife that occurs when large quantities of water, laden with methyl mercury and silt, are released into frozen waterways and Hudson Bay cannot be in our best interest (caribou, beluga, polar bears, and seals are among the animals at risk); and

Part of Minnesota is in the Nelson River watershed, and may suffer direct adverse effects due to damages to the ecosystem of the watershed.

Therefore be it resolved that:

The (YOUR LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT #) commends Senator Ellen Anderson and Representative Carlos Mariani for introducing the Hydro Review Bill (Senate File 2453 and House File 3499), which requires that out-of-state hydroelectric facilities meet the same environmental reporting requirements as in-state facilities; and

The (DISTRICT #) commends Senator Jane Krenz, Senator John Marty, Representative Alice Hausman, Representative Phyllis Kahn, and Representative Karen Clark for sponsoring the Hydro Review Bill; and

The (DISTRICT #) encourages our own legislators to support the Hydro Review Bill; and

The (DISTRICT #) encourages all District DFLers to voice their support of this bill to legislators named above, and to our own state legislators; and

The (DISTRICT #) will send a letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission expressing our desire that NSP not be allowed to buy electricity from Manitoba Hydro; and

The (DISTRICT #) encourages all District DFLers to contact the Public Utilities Commission expressing their desire that NSP not be allowed to buy electricity from Manitoba Hydro; and

The (DISTRICT #) encourages all District DFLers to spread this message further, by way of their own connections to faith communities and social justice, environmental, minority, tribal government, and neighborhood organizations.

Background Information

NSP currently buys about 5% of the power it supplies to its customers from Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro generates this power by dams that flood vast areas of boreal forest and wetlands in northern Manitoba along rivers that drain into Hudson Bay. The land is the traditional home of the Cree who live primarily by hunting and fishing. The water level fluctuates rapidly, depending on the demand for power. Game and fish populations have declined dramatically, destroying the livelihood of the Cree. Several people have died when they have been caught by rapidly changing water levels. Vegetative material in flooded areas decays, releasing carbon dioxide in a quantity comparable to that caused by burning fossil fuels for power generation. Methyl mercury is also released into the water, making the fish downstream unsafe for consumption by humans or animals. The dams are a social, economic and environmental disaster.

Similar hydroelectric projects have been executed and planned by Hydro Quebec and Manitoba Hydro since the early 1970s. In both Quebec and Manitoba, native rights have been ignored, residents have learned of projects only when construction was already underway, and lawsuits have resulted in offers of monetary compensation for the destruction of the land and livelihood of the Cree and Inuit. The Pimicikamak Cree Nation of Manitoba has refused the proffered payments and has sent representatives to Minnesota to ask for our help in resisting Manitoba Hydro's marketing more electricity to NSP. Vocal public opposition to Hydro Quebec in New York significantly cut into Hydro Quebec's sales of power to the U.S. With your help, Minnesota can do the same with Manitoba Hydro.

NSP is currently seeking permission from the Public Utilities Commission to purchase additional power in coming years from Manitoba Hydro. Electricity from Manitoba Hydro is priced very cheaply, which makes it attractive to NSP. NSP is Manitoba Hydro's largest customer outside Canada. Manitoba Hydro intends to build additional dams to supply this demand. Manitoba Hydro does not have to file environmental impact statements for its projects, as Minnesota power producers do.

Contact Information:

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
121 7th Place East, Suite 350
St Paul, MN 55101-2147
651-296-0621

Commissioner Edward Garvey
Commissioner R. Marshall Johnson
Commissioner LeRoy Koppendrayer
Commissioner Gregory Scott, Chairman
Executive Secretary Burl Haar

In your correspondence, reference Docket Number E-002/M-99-888. Questions may be referred to MN Public Utilities Commission staff members Bret Eknes at 651-296-8667 or Susan Mackenzie at 651-296-8994

Legislators:
Senator Ellen Anderson: 651-296-5537; sen.ellen.anderson@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Senator Jane Krentz: 651-296-7061; sen.jane.krentz@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Senator John Marty: 651-296-5645; sen.john.marty@senate.leg.state.mn.us
Rep. Carlos Mariani: 651-296-9714; rep.carlos.mariani@house.leg.state.mn.us
Rep. Alice Hausman: 651-296-3824; rep.alice.hauseman@house.leg.state.mn.us
Rep. Phyllis Kahn: 651-296- 4257; rep.phyllis.khan.@house.leg.state.mn.us
Rep. Karen Clark:651-296- 0294; rep.karen.clark@house.leg.state.mn.us

For a copy of the bill see Sustainable Minnesota's Legislative Watch at http://www.me3.org/leg/legwatch00.html

For information on ways we could conserve energy and generate renewable energy, see: Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy at http://www.me3.org/

For grassroots organizing about this issue, see: http://stcloudstate.tripod.com/plugin/

For some background on Hydro Quebec, see http://www.american.edu/projects/mandala/TED/JAMES.htm

For more information: Ann Stewart, (Information Officer, Pimicikamak Cree Nation)
121 West Grant Street/Suite 116, Minneapolis MN 55403-2340 USA
voice 612.871.8404 fax 612.871.7922 E-mail stewartship@visi.com

This document was prepared by: Janet Anderson 1514 Laurel Ave. St.
Paul, MN 55104 651-642-1371 nosredna725@hotmail.com