Crude oil pipeline “Line 3” has a number of issues. It would damage not only our climate, water, and land; but is a violation of the Indigenous treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people. The Solutions Project is asking anyone and everyone to help stop the Line 3 crude oil pipeline. I am standing with them.
— The Solutions Project (@100isNow) June 7, 2021
Since 2014, thousands have been supporting the opposition to Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline. Its route crosses the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where the Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather their medicines, and harvest their crops. Construction of the pipeline, or an oil spill, would permanently damage their ability to use their land.
The proposed route for the pipeline crosses over 200 waterways, including the Mississippi River, which is where I, way down here in South Louisiana, get my drinking water from. If an oil spill from a pipeline was to occur in the Mississippi River, it would impact the other rivers that feed into Lake Superior as well as those of us along the Mississippi whose cities use it for water.
Photo credit: Ron Turney pic.twitter.com/VWsA4fRoq8
— Indigenous Environmental Network (@IENearth) June 7, 2021
Indigenous Women Risk Arrest By Protesting Line 3
Women such as Simone Senogles of the Red Lake Nation in Minnesota are risking arrest to fight an industry that seeks to capitalize on her native lands. In an interview with Environmental Health News, she described being charged with unlawful assembly and trespassing as insulting.
“It’s Anishinaabe land,” she told EHN. Enbridge is the trespasser, they are the criminal, and they were aided by law enforcement who are supposed to be protecting us, but instead they were protecting a corporation.”
Enbridge contractors in Minnesota are building Line 3 after a six-year-long permitting process. If completed, this will carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Wisconsin. The article noted that police from the Northern Lights Task Force, Minnesota police officers, are funded by Enbridge as a condition of state permits. They have arrested 72 Indigenous people and allies for protesting the pipeline since December 1.
Think about it, this is their land and here we have a corporation paying a police force to arrest Indigenous people on their own land who are protesting the invasion by said corporation. This isn’t right. This isn’t just. But given the history of America, this is not surprising.
Line 3 Is Not A Replacement Project Like Enbridge Claimed It Is
The original Line 3 pipeline, which was built in the 1960s, was corroded, cracked, and leaking. This pipeline was built before the courts ordered the state to honor the treaties. In 2008, there were dangerous incidents that included oil spills into wetlands and even an explosion that killed two Enbridge employees so it reduced the capacity of oil by half–390,000 barrels per day.
In 2015, Enbridge made an announcement. Since Line 3 required too much maintenance, it would replace the pipeline in order to restore it to the original capacity of 760,000 barrels per day. The company called this a replacement project, but the new Line 3 pipeline has a different path — a detour through the Anishinaabe lands. The new route will cross the Shell River four times — one of many waterways that are home to the wild rice that the Indigenous people depend on for food.
In order to build the new Line 3, Enbridge will dredge and fill the wetlands where the wild rice grows. It will introduce fill material which will change the habit. The Ojibwe people, who also use those rice fields, have already begun to see the climate impacts on their wild rice.
Dawn Goodwin from the White Earth Reservation told EHN that the wild rice needs consistent water levels in the spring. Minnesota has seen an increase in storms and torrential rain. “Two years ago, we got so much water that it didn’t ripen well,” she told EHN. “That puts our lifeways in danger because it’s all connected.”
Violence Against Women By Police & Line 3 Workers
Senogles shared her story with EHN and pointed out that one reason Indigenous women are leading the movement against oil pipelines is that the Anishinaabe people believe that women have a sacred connection to water. While having a ceremony that honored missing and murdered Indigenous women at the banks of the Mississippi, the police began to terrorize them with threats of arrest as they approached the river.
Imagine going to the river to honor your people, unfortunate victims, and corporate-paid cops did this to you. On your own lands. This is sickening. “When Indigenous women stand up, we get targeted,” Senogles said. “Violence on the land is violence on the body.”
Another form of targeting is what a former Line 3 worker overheard. Jason Goward, who told ENH that his supervisors and coworkers would often make sexual and degrading jokes about the Indigenous women whose lands they were invading. He was worried that they could be violent toward the women. “My coworkers, I got to know them, and I got to see that there must be some truth to their jokes,” he said.
Shelia Lamb, an Ojibwe-Cherokee city councilor in Cloquet Minnesota, told ENH that she’d heard stories of Line 3 workers perpetuating violence. “We’re hearing from various organizations that do direct services of a definite increase in sexual assault and sexual harassment that is being perpetuated by those working on Line 3,” she told EHN.
There’s more in this part of the original article, so I encourage you to read the full article by EHN here.
How You Can Help
You can help by sending a letter to President Biden. The website, Stopline3.org has a form with a prewritten letter that you can easily send to the president. It only takes a couple of minutes of your time to show your support for the Indigenous people of our nation while also standing up for the basic water rights of millions of Americans — including my own. If this pipeline gets approved, the lands of the Anishinaabe and the drinking water of millions of Americans will be exposed to risk from an oil spill — with 760,000 barrels of tar sands oils flowing through Line 3 every day.
I believe that our voices matter. I also believe that we, especially those who are descended from white Europeans and who benefit from white privilege, owe it to the Indigenous people to help them fight for their lands. This was their land before our ancestors took it from them. Not all of our ancestors, mind you, but in general. BIPOC’s ancestors were either victimized by or enslaved by European settlers from who I descend. So, yes, we owe them this much. I added my voice and I hope it and this article helps.
Those women who are protecting their lands are heroes. And those police officers who are jonesing to arrest them for holding a ceremony to honor their fallen sisters are criminals — in my personal opinion. They are no better than terrorists.
Featured image via StopLine3.org
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Tropical Storm Claudette … Heat Dangers & Injustice — Nexus News Briefs
Tropical Storm Claudette Restrengthens, Targets Outer Banks
Tropical Storm Claudette caused at least 13 deaths in the Southeast over the weekend, as it left flooding and destruction across the region. The third named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Claudette dumped up to 15 inches of rain on southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, southern Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. The storm, which weakened into a tropical depression over land, regained Tropical Storm status as it bore down on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Source Death Toll: USA TODAY; Flooding/destruction:Sources: Washington Post $, Yale Climate Connections, New York Times $; Restrengthening: New York Times $, Washington Post $, Tallahassee Democrat, CNN
Originally published by Nexus Media (image added by editor).
Heat Dangers Worst For Communities Already Harmed By Injustice
Extreme heatwaves disproportionately harm communities of color, poor communities, people experiencing homelessness, and the elderly. Those without access to air conditioning in their homes, and without means of transportation to cooling centers are particularly at risk, as are farmworkers, construction workers, and others unable to put food on the table without risking heat stroke working in the sun.
Originally published by Nexus Media.
Tesla Honors The Historical Silk Road With The Longest Supercharger Route From East To West In China
Tesla announced on Twitter from its Tesla Greater China account that it has opened the longest Supercharger route from east to west in China. The tweet included a stunning video and the hashtag #TheSilkRoute, which is a nod to China’s historic Silk Road and what the country is doing to modernize the ancient route.
— Tesla Greater China (@teslacn) June 19, 2021
“Across the boundless desert and the isolated Gobi, lay a realm of desolation once unknown to many. Some, with firm belief, embarked on a long journey. They marched fearlessly along the way and opened up a path of exploration. Despite uncertainty and danger, the will to discover was valid as always. Along this trail, thousand years of history fades in the blink of an eye. This time, together with Tesla, let us come alongside the time-honored Hexi Corridor and return to the ancient Silk Road where the West and the East encounters to revive the buried epics, to retrieve the forgotten beauty. Beyond distance and time, unbound by tradition or trends, towards the farther oasis. Embrace all in a pure way with a pure heart.” —Tesla China.
The Hexi Corridor, also known as the Gansu Corridor, is a historically narrow stretch of plain that is west of the Yellow River’s Ordos Loop and is part of the Northern Silk Road that runs northwest from the western section of the Ordus Loop between Yinchuan and Lanzhou. It was the most important trade route in Northwest China and linked the nation to historic Western regions for both traders and military incursions into Central Asia.
The Silk Road was established during the Han Dynasty era sometime between 206 BC and 220 AD. It expanded to the west and built a trade network with Central Asian countries and connected the empire with Europe. Silk, spices, and jade were traded for glass, gold, and other noble metals. This ancient trading route was an exchange bridge for trade, culture, and religions between China and Western nations.
China is modernizing the New Silk Road by linking countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa together with a focus on investment for railway, highway, and port construction. The New Silk Road Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the Initiative, defines Belt as the overland routes and Road as the sea routes. Altogether, the project promotes global cooperation and economic development.
Tesla is playing a key role in not only modernizing the New Silk Road, but making it much cleaner by installing 27 Supercharger stations across 5,000 kilometers along the Hexi Corridor. @Ray4Tesla also gave a clue about this back in December.
🇨🇳 SuC Update: 2 SuC stations go online today in Hami & Urumqi in farthest West 🇨🇳. This is significant development, marking the beginning of building all 11 SuC stations along “Silk Road” all the way to Xi’an. @Teslacn doesn’t rest on its laurels. It just completed 600th SuC. pic.twitter.com/BocTzWer1S
— Ray4Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) December 23, 2020
I touched upon the idea of Tesla installing Superchargers along the entire length of the Silk Road back in December after seeing Ray’s tweet, and I remember thinking that it would be really neat if Tesla was able to do this. Six months later, we are seeing that idea taking form and I am excited to witness it.
Why Are Rural Level 2 EV Charging Stations Dying?
I recently crossed the country to start my Untold EV & Cleantech Stories project. One thing I was excited to cover were the small businesses and tourist sites offering EV charging. Even two years ago, many of these Level 2 (240 volt) stations were essential to my misguided 1200-mile trip in a Nissan LEAF. Today, though, things are different. The rural stations, which have grown in number, are not being used, and many of them are falling into disrepair.
In this article, I’m going to explore some of the reasons these stations are not being used, and in some cases, aren’t working at all. The reasons don’t all apply to every station, but they often work together to kill low-speed charging in rural areas.
Reason #1: They’re Becoming Obsolete For Many Travelers
A working Level 2 charging station can be very useful. While they’re not generally as useful as Level 3 DC fast charging stations, they still can add 10-50 miles of range per hour. If you’re sleeping at a hotel, eating a long lunch, or exploring a national park on foot, you could do anything from add a few extra miles of range to get a complete charge, depending on how long you’re staying.
The problem is that these stations just aren’t that essential now. Not only has Tesla’s Supercharging station network grown greatly, but other CCS and CHAdeMO stations are a lot more widely available than they used to be. What takes several hours at a Level 2 station can happen at the Electrify America, Chargepoint, or Tesla Level 3 station in just a few minutes.
The result? Unless plugging into one is very convenient and costs little or nothing, many drivers don’t want to waste any time or effort using them.
Reason #2: Hotels & Parks Often Charge A Fee For Using Them
This reason stacks on top of the last one pretty neatly. Instead of offering EV charging as a perk to get business, many station owners think they’re a way to bring in some more income.
Probably the worst example I’ve seen on this is a set of plugs installed at the Chevron station in Valle, AZ. The plugs are placed on the back of the gas station, right between the gas station’s gift shop and the Grand Canyon Inn. While not at the National Park itself, the gas station and hotel 20 miles out are a lot cheaper than the other options up the road in Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village itself. The whole time we were there (3 days), we didn’t see a single EV charge. Plugshare’s entry for the charging station also lacks anything but a comment by a person letting us all know that the Chevron station charges $9 per hour to charge.
The station at the Petrified Forest National Park was likewise not being used, and gets very few entries on Plugshare. They’re charging $2 per hour instead of $9, but new Electrify America stations in Gallup, New Mexico and Winslow, Arizona make it almost pointless for most drivers to charge there. Like at the Grand Canyon, the one working plug is located where people don’t spend that much time, and is far away from the main attractions most people go to the park to see. Plus, it doesn’t work well every time someone plugs in. At the south end of the park is a second station that has been out of order for years, with even the plastic bag that was covering it falling apart and coming loose.
I saw the theory in action in Holbrook, Arizona at the La Quinta Inn. One Model S driver backed into a space with Level 2 charging, pulled his J1772 adapter out of the back, plugged in, and then noticed that the station wanted to charge him a fee for the charging session.
“Seriously? A fee for this?” I heard him say, right before he parked elsewhere in the parking lot and took his suitcase up.
Bottom line: Nobody wants to pay for Level 2 charging now, so expect any station trying to do that to get very little actual use.
Reason #3: Location, Location, Location
These days, location isn’t what it once was. People can shop for underwear wearing nothing but their underwear. Many people working remote are living in vans now, and don’t want to go back to the prison of the office. EV charging is still one of the things where location is key, though.
Nowhere illustrated this better for me than the Grand Canyon. If the main parking lots had slow EV charging, people would use it. Unfortunately, the charging is all located in back lots, far from the edge of the canyon’s rim. Driving around Grand Canyon Village, I didn’t see any EVs charging at any of the stations in the park. They’re free to use in most cases, but they’re simply not located close enough to any of the park’s attractions to get anybody to want to park at them.
Every EV I saw in the park or on the roads leading to and from the park was a Tesla, and there’s a Supercharger station in Tusayan, just outside of the park. Why anyone would park far from the rim when they can quickly and conveniently charge up before coming in is beyond me.
Reason #4: Stations Falling Into Disrepair
I tried to look at this one from a station owner’s point of view, and it makes a lot of sense. Some salesperson comes around offering to put in a station. They make it sound like it’s a great way to bring in some extra money and attract wealthy people in expensive electric cars to come hang out. For a hotel, a gas station with a gift shop, or a vendor selling things at a national park, it sounds like a great deal. A real win-win.
But, for some reason the business owner doesn’t understand, nobody shows up to charge. They built it, but this isn’t the Field of Dreams. Nobody came, or almost nobody came. After years of a small trickle of people showing up to charge, one person comes in complaining about how the station doesn’t work. The owner calls the charging people up, and get told it’ll cost hundreds or more to repair it.
Given the lack of money the thing has been bringing in, and the apparent lack of high-dollar customers, they throw in the towel and stick a bag over the thing. It just didn’t live up to the expectations.
Bottom Line: Level 2 Charging Needs To Be Convenient, Free, & Reliable
If you’re a business or tourist attraction looking to provide Level 2 EV charging, the key is to be realistic. It’s not going to be a source of direct profit for your business, but it can bring in profits if you do it right.
Execution matters. If you offer free charging, make it convenient, and make sure it always works, people will choose your business over others. If you charge people for it, put it somewhere inconvenient, and it’s broken half the time, expect it to not be used.
When a person charging for an hour will only cost around $.60-$1.00 of electricity, it’s almost a no-brainer just to give it to them for free. You’ll make that money back selling them a meal or snacks, and then some. If you’re giving away an overnight charge, the cost for that is only $10-15 at most. For a hotel room, you can make that back easily or let a competitor do it.
The worst move a business can make is to do this wrong. With all of the costs and none of the upside, that’s worse than not putting in EV charging at all.
Porsche Inks Battery Deal With Customcells, Volvo Partners With Northvolt
The EV revolution is happening, but everyone is worried that Chinese companies will control the battery supply. Joe Biden is proposing a major policy initiative to support the construction of more battery factories in the US, and the German government is pressuring companies to seek battery suppliers located in Germany.
According to US News and World Report, Porsche has entered into a joint venture with German battery startup Customcells, which is located near the Porsche headquarters. The deal is a little like Volkswagen’s link up with Quantumscape in the US. Every manufacturer wants batteries with higher energy density, faster charging characteristic, and lower cost. Quantumscape may provide them or Customcells may provide them, but Volkswagen intends to be the firstest with the mostest when it comes to bringing competitive electric cars to market.
Volkswagen’s luxury sports car unit Porsche AG is setting up a joint venture with Customcells to produce high-performance batteries that will significantly reduce charging times, the company said on Sunday. Customcells says it has the higher energy density part of the equation covered. Porsche is investing around €20 million in Customcells and will own an 80% share of the joint venture.
In addition to cutting charging time, improving energy density will mean reducing the amount of raw material needed in batteries to achieve the same range. It will also cut battery production costs, making electric cars more affordable, US News reports.
In April, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said his company wants to speed up its e-mobility drive by establishing a German battery factory in Tuebingen. It just so happens that Customcells is located in Tuebingen.
Now don’t get too excited. The new production facility has a target capacity of just 100 kilowatt hours worth of batteries a year — about enough batteries for 1,000 cars. Clearly this is a “proof of concept” designed to see if Customcells and Porsche can make the leap from laboratory to commercial scale production. If it does, the advanced battery technology will filter down to other electric cars manufactured by Volkswagen Group, which has said it plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants across Europe.
Volvo & Northvolt Plan 50 GWh Battery Factory
Volvo is also interested in next generation batteries for electric cars. In a recent press release, it says it will enter into a 50/50 joint venture with Northvolt to develop next-generation, state of the art battery cells and vehicle integration technologies specifically for use in Volvo and Polestar cars.
The plan between the two companies calls for a factory with a potential capacity of 50 GWh of batteries a year. Production is scheduled to start in 2026. Volvo will also source 15 GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett factory in Sweden starting in 2024. Volvo expects half of its sales to be battery electric cars by the middle of this decade. By the time 2030 rolls around, it expects to sell electric cars exclusively.
“By working with Northvolt, we will secure a supply of high quality, more sustainable battery cells for our pure electric cars,” says Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of the Volvo Car Group. “Working closely with Northvolt will also allow us to strengthen our in-house development capabilities.”
The new factory will be powered by 100% clean energy and is expected to employ up to 3,000 workers. Its exact location has yet to be decided. The first car to feature battery cells developed through the joint venture will be the electric successor to Volvo ‘s XC60, the bestselling car in its model lineup. Volvo will reveal more details at its Volvo Cars Tech Moment scheduled for June 30.
“Developing the next generation of battery cell technology in-house, together with Northvolt, will allow us to design batteries specifically for Volvo and Polestar drivers,” says Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars. “With cells developed in-house for our electric cars, we can focus on giving Volvo and Polestar customers what they want, such as range and short charging times.”
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