City Meeting to be Broadcast over Community Access TV; Related Events Streamed at Honor the Earth Facebook Site
The Cohasset City Council will determine the fate of the controversial Huber Engineered Woods’ “Frontier Project” -- a new manufacturing mill to produce oriented strand board (OSB) -- Tuesday evening, March 8. In direct contravention of the purpose of Minnesota’s Open Meetings Law – and after first saying public comment would be allowed – the city quietly made an about-face on Friday and has now told the public and tribes that they will not be permitted to address their concerns before the City makes final decision on the project. The proposed mammoth facility is located just 1 mile away from the Leech Lake Reservation and within 1855 Treaty Territory.
Minnesota Tribes and allied opponents affected by the project are demanding that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be done and that legally required Tribal Consultation occur – and plan to hold their own public comment in and around Cohasset City Hall. *
RELATED: Huber representatives, plus area and state government boosters, also plan to hold a parallel “Huber Huddle” late afternoon from 4-5 p.m. at the Timberlake Lodge in nearby Grand Rapids to discuss the project’s “Next Steps.”
Huber’s timber mill operation would become the state’s 12th largest polluter and drastically increase deforestation in the north woods. It has already received $80 million in state funding via questionable subsidies that bypassed tribal input and an EIS and ignored any climate change impacts.
The decision to cut off public participation in the environmental review process comes after the City illegally assumed the role of Responsible Government Unit (RGU)) and denied Honor the Earth and associated tribal community members request to extend the deadline for written public comment.
“We requested an extension request based on the considerable length (approximately 220 pages) of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the project as well as the fact that the formal tribal consultation --- required by Minnesota Statute, Sect. 10.65 -- did not occur prior to the City's designation as RGU in this case,” notes Jamie Konopacky, Environmental Counsel, Honor the Earth. Konopacky further stated, “This has been a broken process from start to finish, one that exemplifies and exacerbates the issue of systemic racism in Minnesota. ‘We’ll do better next time’ is not an acceptable answer for Tribes whose identities, communities and ways of life will be irreversibly impacted by this project.”
WHERE / WHEN /
City Council Meeting: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 -- 7:00 PM | EAW Announcement | Cohasset City Hall / 305 1st Ave NW, Cohasset, MN 55721
Huber Huddle: Tuesday, March 8, 2022 – 4-5 pm / Timberlake Lodge / 144 SE 17th St, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
BROADCASTS & STREAMS
ITASCA COMMUNITY TV: https://ictv.cablecast.tv/CablecastPublicSite/?channel=1
HONOR THE EARTH FACEBOOK SITE: https://www.facebook.com/WinonaLaDukeHonorTheEarth/
WHY / RELATED LINKS
By Leech Lake Tribal Chairman, Faron Jackson Sr.: https://www.startribune.com/giant-mill-wont-be-a-good-neighbor-up-north/600146458/?refresh=true
Martin Keller, Media Savant, 612-220-6515, [email protected]
*More About Frontier Project Impacts to Natives and the Environment
The Frontier Project poses environmental dangers to surrounding tribes within a 70- to 100-mile radius, including Leech Lake, Red Lake, Bois Forte, White Earth, and Mille Lacs – the ceded lands of 1837, 1847, 1854, 1855, 1863, 1866, and 1889 Welsa Act.
The key issues that require analysis under an EIS that are not addressed in the current EAW include, but are not limited, to the following:
The proposed purpose and need for the project
An analysis of feasible alternatives
Expected environmental impacts
A proper woodshed analysis
Anticipated environmental justice impacts for the project
Cumulative impacts of the project on the state
Public comments and response
Impact on Tribal rights
Airshed impacts and overview of air pollution control technologies and alternatives
A full EIS would also account for the effects of climate change and its projected effects on forest resources, as well as the effects of the introduction of non-native species to our area.