Standing Rock Reservation Members Express Concern Over Dakota Access Pipeline
By Megan Mitchell
The Dakota Access Pipeline plans to move oil from the Bakken to Illinois.
The proposed route goes through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
The $3.7 billion project was approved by the North Dakota Public ServiceCommission in January.
But that doesn’t mean the project is ready to go.
The Army Corps of Engineers still has to OK certain parts of the pipeline, including the crossing of waterways.
The group met with leaders on the Standing Rock Reservation to hear concerns they have with the pipeline.
Many tribal members are speaking up.
“Pipelines aren’t a matter of if they’ll break, it’s when they’ll break,” said Joye Braun, Standing Rock resident.
Braun and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are protesting the DakotaAccess Pipeline.
“The mere thought of putting a 30-inch pipeline underneath the Missouri River is causing a lot of concern by our membership,” said Chairman Dave Archambault, Standing Rock Reservation.
The pipeline is proposed to go in a few hundred feet from the northern border of the reservation and across the community’s main water source.
With more than 300 pipeline spills in North Dakota in the past two years, residents are afraid their water will be contaminated.
“For them to just blatantly continue the pipelines and the contamination and the taking of our drinking water and ignoring us is genocide. It’s genocide,” said Phyllis Young, Standing Rock resident.
Tribal leaders say the environment assessment was done internally by the same company building the pipeline and it made no mention of any community living in the area.
They also say the company bypassed federal laws requiring direct discussion with the tribes.
“If you look at the policies that the Corp of Engineers has that consultation was supposed to have occurred prior to any planning and construction,” said John Eagle, Standing Rock Reservation director of tribal historic preservation.
Energy Transfer Partners says authorization to construct is set at the state level, which was approved by the PSC.
Permits on local and federal levels are still in progress.
A representative for the company said in a statement, “(The pipeline) does not cross their land. We are compliant with any and all regulations including tribal coordination and cultural resources.”
Archambault says it is inside the treaty boundary.
“You can live without oil. You can live without money. But you can’t live without water,” Archambault said.
Standing Rock members say they are fighting for the rights of generations to come.
Iowa is expected to make a ruling on its part of the pipeline Thursday.
The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to make a decision on the federal permit in May.
Excerpt via KFYR-TV