Dean Suagee: Tribal issues being ignored in Keystone XL battle

Reject and Protect: The Cowboy Indian Alliance held a series of protests in Washington, D.C., in April 2014. Everything is Illuminated/Pool Photos

Attorney Dean Suagee discusses Native and non-Native opposition to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline:
Ranchers, farmers and other landowners also object to the use of eminent domain to give the pipeline company, TransCanada, rights-of-way across their land. Such takings of private property are not for the public interest but rather for the financial gain of a private foreign company. A group of landowners in Nebraska recently won a state court ruling on this issue.

Another kind of concern raised by tribes and tribal citizens is the damage to, and destruction of, cultural resources along the route of the proposed pipeline. TransCanada has planned its route so that it avoids Indian trust land, but a major section of the route does cross through territories that were reserved for tribal homelands in the Fort Laramie treaties of 1851 and 1868. There are thousands of cultural resource sites along the proposed route, and tribal representatives generally regarded the State Department’s efforts to consult with them, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act, as having been inadequate. If the pipeline goes through, there would be widespread adverse effects on traditional cultural properties and other places of religious and cultural importance.

Impacts in Canada have not received much coverage in the media in the United Stats. The FSEIS barely mentions such impacts, basically leaving it to the Canadian national and provincial governments to decide whether such impacts are acceptable. That the FSEIS ignores them is not a valid reason for pretending that the devastation is not happening. We really shouldn’t give ourselves a pass to ignore these impacts.

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Dean Suagee: Reasons Why President Obama Must Reject Keystone XL, Part 2 (Indian Country Today 2/24)

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