Honor the Earth, 1855 Treaty Authority, Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation to file
Amicus Brief in support of Leech Lake’s recent appeal of Huber Mill Project to the
Minnesota Court of Appeals
. Indigenous parties demand full consultation, honored treaties and an environmental impact statement.

CALLAWAY, MINN., — June 13, 2022 – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has asked a second time for more information on the proposed “Frontier Project” in Cohasset from Huber Engineered Woods, reportedly prompting Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) to cancel its scheduled June 16 public informational meeting for interested persons/parties to learn about the draft 401 water quality certification and future draft air permit for Huber’s proposed facility.

J.M. Huber Corporation wood processing plant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Huber has plans to build a wood processing plant in Cohasset, MN.

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe filed an appeal challenging the City of Cohasset’s approval of an industrial facility.

The 1855 Treaty Authority, Minnesota Tribes at Red Lake and White Earth, along with the environmental justice nonprofit, Honor the Earth, are lining up to support the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s recent late April appeal to Minnesota Court of Appeals, challenging the City of Cohasset’s approval of the project. All parties issued statements – see below – while joining Honor the Earth in filing Amicus Briefs with the Appeals Court before the end of June.

The Leech Lake band stated that the Frontier Project would build a Metrodome-sized facility, consuming 400,000 cords of timber a year to produce oriented strand board, would emit over 2,000 tons of hazardous and toxic air pollutants and release more than 451,000 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gasses a year. It would become the state’s 12th largest greenhouse gas emitter and drastically increase deforestation in the north woods.

In addition, Leech Lake says Huber is seeking federal permits that would impact sensitive wetlands that have hydrological connections to the Mississippi River and Blackwater Wild Rice beds, which are heavily used for Tribal and non-Tribal wild rice harvesting.

Leech Lake and dam

Cohasset- and State-Approval Processes Spurned Input from Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Reflecting a History of Ignoring Tribal Rights and Treaties “White Earth Nation is a sovereign Anishinaabe Nation in Northern Minnesota. Currently, White Earth’s enrolled tribal membership comprises nearly half of all Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Members. For centuries, the State of Minnesota has ignored and violated federally guaranteed Treaty Rights of White Earth and other Anishinaabe Tribes to hunt, fish and gather throughout the 1885 and adjoining Treaty Territories,” said Chairman Mike Fairbanks. “The proposed Huber Oriented Strand Board industrial mill is no exception. The proposed facility will irreparably harm air, water, forest, flora and fauna resources to which Anishinaabe Tribal Members have federally protected treaty rights.”

“The potential environmental devastation from the Huber project will accumulate on top of centuries of harm to Native People and environmental resources from illegal mining, industrial agriculture and logging activities,” added Joe Plumer, attorney for the Red Lake Nation. “Red Lake refuses to give the required Tribal consent for the project to proceed and will pursue the actions necessary to stop the North Carolina Huber Company from further eviscerating the environmental resources of Northern Minnesota, which form the economic, cultural and spiritual foundation of sovereign Anishinaabe Tribal Nations. To this end, we are joining with the White Earth Nation, the 1855 Treaty Authority and Honor the Earth in submitting an amicus brief to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, demanding an Environmental Impact Statement that fully assesses irreparable impacts to tribal people and treaty resources.”

City’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) Viewed as Flawed and Grossly Inadequate

“The City’s Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is grossly inadequate. The Frontier Project proposes to further destroy constitutionally guaranteed hunting, fishing and gathering rights on Treaty Territory – 1837, 1847, 1854, 1855, 1863, 1866, and 1889- lands- in which Leech Lake, Red Lake, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, Mille Lacs and White Earth have federal protected, priority land rights, ” explained Winona LaDuke, cofounder and Executive Director of Honor the Earth. “The key issues that require analysis under an EIS that are not addressed in the heavily flawed EAW but are not limited, to
the following:

• Deforestation
• Water Quality
• Air Pollution
• Wild Rice
• Environmental justice
• Cumulative impacts to Sovereign Tribes
• Treaty Rights
• Climate change

For more information – or to interview the Tribal parties about the Huber Mill and the
ongoing legal challenges – please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant
Communications, 612-220-6515, mkeller@mediasavantcom.com, @mediasavant

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