The Dakota Access Pipeline is currently under construction, proposed to carry fracked oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota 1,172 miles to Patoka, Illinois. On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the US Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) approved the water crossing permits for the pipeline. Soon after, a historic grassroots resistance movement erupted at the site of the original spirit camp established in April on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, determined to stop the pipeline through prayer and non-violent direct action. The encampment at Standing Rock blossomed as many thousands of people representing hundreds of tribes and First Nations came from all over the world, including allies, to stand in solidarity.
The federal government's rubber stamp approval undermines the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, as well as federal trust responsibilities guaranteed in the 1851 and 1868 United States treaties with the L/D/Nakota tribes, which remain the supreme law of the land. We support the subsequent legal filings by the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Rosebud Sioux, and Yankton Sioux Tribes, whose human rights, treaty rights, and sovereignty are violated by these permits. We join them in calling for a full halt to all construction activities and repeal of all USACE permits until formal tribal consultation and environmental review are properly and adequately conducted.
On October 10, 2016, Honor the Earth, the Sierra Club and the Indigenous Environmental Network submitted a 30-page letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The letter explains why the USACE is prohibited by federal law from issuing DAPL any more permits, including the final outstanding easement for the Missouri River crossing at Standing Rock, and why they are required by federal law to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement on the Dakota Access pipeline.
With an 85% drop in active oil rigs in the Bakken oil fields, there is no need for this pipeline. It is a pipeline from nowhere. Here’s what true energy independence would look like: With $3.9 billion equally divided, we could install 65,000 typical 5kw residential rooftop PV systems, each supplying about half of the home's electricity needs; install 325 2MW utility scale wind towers that would generate over 3.5 billion kwh per year; and provide 160,000 homes with $8000 efficiency retrofit packages, saving $300/yr/home. That would produce a whole lot of jobs, most of them local.
At times like these, I often ask myself, “What would Sitting Bull do?” The answer is pretty clear. A hundred years ago the great leader said, “Let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can make for our children.” The time for that is now.
- Amnesty International statements on Standing Rock
- Letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers submitted by Honor the Earth, the Sierra Club and the Indigenous Environmental Network. PDF
- Coalition Statement of Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's Lawsuits
- Dakota Access Pipeline Factsheet
- How to help
- Solidarity Statement: Commitment of Legal Support for All Water Protectors
- If you are planning to go to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with water protectors, please read these resources on how to best to show up!
- Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions - An interview on the frontlines with Honor the Earth's very own Tara Zhaabowekwe Houska and Thane Maxwell. A detailed update on the legal situation at camp including the brutal militarized crackdown, the human rights violations, the arrests and legal defense efforts, and the regulatory process (or lack thereof). (Donate to the legal defense fund here: www.fundrazr.com/sacredstone)
- TAKE ACTION TO DEMAND WITHDRAWAL OF HENNEPIN COUNTY POLICE FORCES TODAY!!
What is Honor the Earth doing at Standing Rock?
We fought off one fracked oil pipeline here in Minnesota, Enbridge’s Sandpiper, and the companies moved west. So we have followed them - because a pipeline that would harm Standing Rock’s water will also harm ours. We are here not only to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, but to make a future for our people. This is the time to push for renewable energy and justice. No more desecration of our lands. No more poisoning of our people. We have momentum. We have the world’s attention. And we are standing together and standing up. Please join us.
There is more than just a $3.9 billion pipeline at stake here. This is about constitutional rights, and human rights. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, Governor Dalrymple seeks to spend over $17 million militarizing the state to put down the Lakota and their allies. This is not going to happen. We are a strong and principled people.
Two of Honor the Earth's primary staff moved to Standing Rock in July and August and live in the camps in tipis and wall tents. Two more, including Executive Director Winona LaDuke, visit regularly, as do several Honor the Earth board members. Our staff supports the frontlines, the direct action teams, and the legal teams. We fill a critical coordination role in order to ensure a multi-dimensional campaign. We create media and communication bridges to connect the camps with the outside world, ensure that strategy is well-informed, and help tell the story correctly. We work in coalition with other grassroots groups on the ground to receive and distribute donations, meet the camps' physical infrastructure needs, interface with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and leverage the power of allied groups across the country. We have also hosted several public events, including a spiritual horse ride against the current of the oil, from Standing Rock to Tioga, ND, the source of the pipeline.
We are also working closely with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as they hold a series of public hearings on the reservation, collecting public comment and expert testimony about the impacts of the pipeline - basically, doing the public outreach that the Army Corps never did.
In addition to battling the pipeline, we also continue to work towards energy infrastructure for the Standing Rock Reservation that actually serves its people. After all, three years ago Debbie Dogskin, a Standing Rock resident, froze to death because she could not pay her propane bill. That is the reality here. We plan to install 20 solar thermal panels on tribal houses at Standing Rock, beginning to address fuel poverty on the reservation.
We are also overseeing the construction of Makagi Oti, the Brown Earth Lodge, in partnership with the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy. Makagi Oti will be a straw bale community center, a four season structure that will hold 80-100 people, and will provide a kitchen and central gathering place for those camped in resistance to the pipeline.
The Issues with the Dakota Access Pipeline
The Dakota Access pipeline was approved very quickly by four states and the federal government. The US Army Corps’s rubber stamp job undermined major federal environmental and historic preservation laws, as well as federal trust responsibilities guaranteed in the 1851 and 1868 United States treaties with the L/D/Nakota tribes.
- Inadequate Environmental Review - The DAPL crosses the Missouri River and the Mississippi River, from which 18 million people get drinking water. Spills and leaks would impact all of us, but the Army Corps did not perform a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as required by law.
- Lack of Tribal Consultation - Dakota Access LLC and the US Army Corps never formally completed nation-to- nation consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.
- Environmental Racism - The original route ran just north of Bismarck, but was moved downstream, to cross the Missouri just over a mile upstream of the water intake valves for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This clearly and intentionally places disproportionate risk on Native people.
- Ignoring Sacred Places - The permit process did not include a new survey of impacted cultural resources, including the concentration of sacred places - village sites, burial grounds, Sundance grounds, etc - at the river crossing, a traditional trading ground of many different tribal Nations.
- Illegal Permit Process - The US Army Corps used Nationwide Permit 12 to illegally segment the project into hundreds of easily-approved pieces and circumvent the major protections of the Clean Water Act. NWP 12 was designed for boat ramps, not pipelines.
- Fracking in the Bakken - DAPL would carry fracked oil from the Bakken where communities are plagued with radioactive contamination and epidemics of traffic deaths, drug related crime, and sexual trafficking.
- Unfair Tactics - Many ND landowners have reported intimidation, fraud, and harrassment from the company during easement negotiations.
- Diverting Surface Water - ND farmers have been alarmed that DAPL is allowed to divert surface water away from private lands and agriculture for use in the construction and hydrostatic testing processes.
- Bad Investment - The Dakota Access is a pipeline from nowhere. Due to persistent low oil prices, the active rig count in the Bakken is down 85% from its peak in 2014, and many hubs of the oil boom are now ghost towns.
What You Can Do?
Donate - You can send money to the camps in various ways, as a check, through paypal, or through our online fundraisers.
Sacred Stone Camp:
Sacred Stone Camp
P.O. Box 1011
Fort Yates, ND 58538
Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund
Please make checks out to “Freshet Collective” and send to: PO Box 6521, Minneapolis MN, 55406
Red Warrior Camp: oweakuinternational.org
Honor the Earth: honorearth.org/donate or honorearth.org/donatemonthly
Indigenous Environmental Network: ienearth.org/contact-us/
What we really need is your labor, to transform money and supplies into something immediately. Make a banner complete with grommets and ropes to tie it down. Come spend a week washing dishes and building winter structures. Contact email@example.com to coordinate your ideas with current needs.
Follow the social media pages listed at the top. Share our literature at events. Host a fundraiser or educational potluck with your friends and neighbors
- Sign the petitions
- Write letters to the editor
- Contact your elected officials
- Divest your money and explain why. - Organize a rally
But step outside the system too. We have forms of power that corporations and politicians don’t have. Pray. Dream. Create art.
Wherever you are, chances are people are organizing supply drops and solidarity actions, mobilizing to stop other bad projects by extractive industries, and creating alternatives for a better future. Plug in. Meet new people. Find a role you can sustain long term.