Open Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry

[Written after attending hearing on Tar Sands pipelines in Federal Court yesterday]

Dear Secretary Kerry,

As a parent whose son and daughter-in-law work for you in West Africa, I was deeply ashamed of the inability of your department's dismissal of the rights of Indigenous Peoples exhibited by the lawyer arguing against Honor The Earth,, and the Sierra Club's position at the Enbridge Pipeline hearing in front of Judge Michael Davis yesterday in the US Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis.

I wanted to stand up in the courtroom and shout the words of Jim Morrison's cry in The Door's song so many years ago when we were young men: "What have they done to the earth?/What have they done to our fair sister?/Ravaged and plundered, ripped her and bit her/ Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn/ Tied her with fences and ...dragged her down!" The song, appropriately, is titled, "When the Music's Over".

To hide behind legal technicalities of a permit granted by LBJ in 1968 for a pipeline with "unlimited" capacity to cross our national border - before any of us knew the stalking horse of global climate change was marching over the horizon - exhibited the worst aspects of the collusion of corporate interests and mindless bureaucracy in the service of denial and greed.

Who is going to represent the interests of the Earth? Of the danger filthy tar sands "oil" and its poisonous diluents cause to our Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and our pristine lakes with their abundance of wild rice growing over "sky blue waters"?

As Secretary of State, you must help our nation respect and honor the Treaties signed by our government ensuring the rights of our indigenous friends to fish, hunt, and gather (yes, that life-giving wild rice) in perpetuity. Your lawyer said the State Department's only interest was the point at which the pipeline(s) crossed the border between The U.S. and Canada - leaving the issue of what the pipelines are carrying and it's destination to other faceless bureaucrats.

Climate change is real. The time is short. Please, please, please conduct a thorough environmental review of the Enbridge Pipeline 67 (Alberta Clipper) and Pipeline 3 replacement - and consult with the Indigenous Nations, including Winona LaDuke and White Earth, before this climate-threatening project continues.

Steve Clemens