Native American Leaders: Keystone Spill Highlights need to oppose Dakota Access Expansion, KXL
Heads of four Tribal Nations to challenge ND Board at Nov. 13 hearing
BISMARK, N.D. – After last week’s news hit of the Keystone pipeline oil spill, where approximately 383,000 gallons of oil leaked into North Dakota, leaders from four tribes of the Great Sioux Nation voiced their opposition of both the Keystone XL (KXL) and a looming expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
“This is what pipelines do: they spill,” said Chase Iron Eyes, lead counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project and public relations director for Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner. “This latest Keystone leak demonstrates why we stood against Dakota Access in the first place, why we’re doing so again now, and why we’re prepared to fight Keystone XL every step of the way.”
A hearing on the proposed expansion, which could green light a new pumping station, will take place before the North Dakota Public Service Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 13. If the station is approved along with two others, the result could near double DAPL’s oil flow, from about 600,000 barrels per day to around 1.1 million.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith and Councilman Charles Walker said they hope an outpouring of public opposition will improve the chances of the Commission listening to Standing Rock and other tribes.
“Allies are important in helping us relay our message,” said Faith. “Indigenous communities have always taught that we should care for the next seven generations. Dakota Access has already spilled 11 times, and now they want to double its capacity. That pipeline should be pulled out of the ground, and KXL should be stopped as well.”
“Those of you who have stood with Standing Rock in the past, we compel you right now to stand with us once again as we oppose the increase of the amount of barrels flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline. Bring your voice to the North Dakota Public Service Commission in the form of letters and attending the hearing,” said Walker
Keystone’s has suffered multiple spills, and pipelines, in general, have an intensive history of leaks. Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bear Runner pointed out that Native communities could be unfairly impacted if pipelines keep being routed in close proximity to tribal lands, where they threaten tribal water supplies
The Lakota People’s Law Project has released a video with the above statements, asking people to submit comments to the Commission using their website.