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.
Enbridge wants to build a new pipeline corridor through the heart of Minnesota's lake country and some of the largest wild rice beds in the world. The proposed Sandpiper pipeline would carry fracked oil from the Bakken formation of North Dakota, across the White Earth reservation and the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and through the 1855 Treaty Area, to their terminal in Superior, WI. This highly volatile substance has “incinerated” a town in Canada, and its extraction in ND threatens the lifeways and wellbeing of our relatives of the Three Affiliated Tribes. The proposed Line 3 Replacement pipeline would carry tar sands, the dirtiest fuel on the planet, from the Athabasca River Basin in Alberta. Enbridge wants to simply abandon its existing Line 3 pipeline and walk away from it, because it has over 900 "structural anomalies", and build a brand new line in this new corridor. If this new corridor is established, we expect Enbridge to propose building even more pipelines in it. We cannot allow that.
Enbridge's Alberta Clipper pipeline is one of 6 pipelines in the existing Enbridge mainline corridor, which crosses the Red Lake, Leech Lake, and Fond du Lac reservations. The Alberta Clipper carries tar sands oil from the lands of our Cree and Dene relatives in Alberta. Enbridge has applied to double its capacity, to ship 880,000 barrels per day, more than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama rejected in November 2015. The Alberta Clipper has already leaked on numerous occasions, with devastating consequences for the wetlands and waterways of northern Minnesota. While waiting for the US State Department to complete its environmental review on the proposed expansion, Enbridge devised an illegal scheme to go ahead and transport the increased volumes of tar sands via the Alberta Clipper, by passing oil into another pipeline just long enough to cross the border, then switching it back. This "switcheroo" scheme violates federal law and a coalition of tribal and environmental groups sued the US State Department for allowing it.
The Keystone XL Pipeline was proposed to carry tar sands from the Athabasca River Basin in Alberta all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Eighty percent of the traditional territory of the Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations has been made inaccessible for most of the year, and traditional lifeways can no longer be practiced on the land because of contamination. It is an ecological sacrifice zone the size of Florida. Musician Neil Young compares the atomic bomb devastation of Hiroshima, Japan to the least devastated areas of tar sans operations.
However, In an unprecedented decision and historic victory for First Nations and environmental groups, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL by denying its presidential permit in November 2012. This victory was the result of 7-8 years of relentless organizing and shows what is possible when we come together across the lines that divide us, to form a powerful, diverse grassroots movement.