Red Lake Nation Agrees to $18.5 Million Settlement with Enbridge


Published December 30, 2015

RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION — On December 22, 2015, the Red Lake Nation Tribal Council voted to accept an $18.5 million offer from Enbridge to end an ongoing dispute over a oil line going through the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.

On December 18, 2015, Enbridge officials met with the Red Lake Nation Tribal Council. After several rounds of negotiation, Enbridge agreed to pay $18.5 million, more than three and a half times its previous officer in November, and only $2.5 million less than Red Lake’s demand.

The six-to-four Tribal Council vote allows for the exchange of land for the trespass at the Four Legged Lake property on the reservation.

The Red Lake Nation issued a statement that reads, in part:

In exchange, the Band will designate one or more parcels of land within the 1863 treaty area/1889 agreement for Enbridge to purchase on behalf of the Band and will begin the fee to trust land exchange. Red Lake’s constitution and federal regulations require that the land coming into trust must be of equal or more value than the land coming out of trust. Once the land exchange is complete, the Band will take possession of the total value in the escrow account including any interest.

According to Red Lake’s attorneys handing this matter, the settlement for $18.5 million is the best agreement that any tribe, anywhere, has received from a pipeline or energy company, and the land exchange and land acquisition provide tremendous benefit to Red Lake. The Tribe will choose the land it gets in exchange for the Four-Legged Lake land.

The Enbridge pipe on ceded land is 20 miles south of the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Two other Minnesota American Indian tribes, the Leech Lake and Fond-du-Lac Tribes, signed 20-year easements with Enbridge and received payments.

UPDATED: This article was update on Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 6:41 p.m. – EST.



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