Environmental Ministry: Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline

06 September 2016

Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline

-Submitted by Joan M. Gregory, Co-Coordinator, Environmental Ministry

The Sierra Club issued this alert: A dangerous fracked oil pipeline has been approved by the federal government -- but it isn't over yet. The controversial Dakota Access pipeline would carry over 450,000 barrels of oil through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, putting communities and waterways at risk all along its 1,168-miles. The Dakota Access pipeline would cut through communities, farms, sensitive natural areas, wildlife habitat, and tribal lands like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's ancestral lands that are within half a mile of its current reservation.

Not only would the Dakota Access pipeline threaten sacred sites and culturally important landscapes, it would also cross under the Missouri River just upstream of the Tribe's drinking water supply, where a spill would constitute an existential threat to the Tribe's culture and way of life. That's why the Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting the pipeline in peaceful prayer camps since April, and why thousands of supporters have joined them since the pipeline was approved. Take Action: Urge President Obama to stand with tribes to protect our environment by repealing the approval of this dangerous fracked oil pipeline!

Water protectors at Standing Rock are standing strong to defend land and water from the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, which would put the Missouri River and all those who depend on it in great danger. About 2,000 water protectors are camped there, with more tents and teepees going up daily. In their call to action, they wrote: Water is a necessity for all life. Water is life. Now is the time for all people from all walks of life to join together to stop the desecration and destruction of water, land and life! Members of hundreds (over 188 at last count) of indigenous nations have joined the indigenous-led resistance emerging from Standing Rock Reservation, home of the Oceti Sakowin, the seven council fires, known to many as the “Great Sioux Nation.”

“This 1,168-mile pipeline extending across four states from North Dakota to Illinois has sparked a prairie fire of united Native American resistance not seen since Wounded Knee, and a return of the Great Sioux Nation. This is the first time since the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn that all seven council fires have camped together.” writes Jacqueline Keeler, a Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux writer living in Portland, Oregon.

Keeler goes on to report that: “By the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s estimates it will take less than two minutes for a pipeline break to bring heavy Bakken Crude Oil to the Tribe’s Early Head Start building and less than 5 minutes to reach an elementary school. Then 15 minutes to reach the Tribe’s water intake.”

In July, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which had granted the final permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline in federal court. On August 24, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court from the District of Columbia delayed a decision for the Tribe’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and promised a decision before or on Sept. 9. On September 3, 2016, the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they protested against the pipeline’s construction and the destruction of their sacred lands.

This promises to be a long term action and these brave nations will need support. What can you do?

Here are some articles to read and some sources to follow to get up to speed on what’s happening:

Here are some ways you can help out:

The camps that are leading the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline need support. If you are able to donate or send supplies, please do.