South Dakota tribes form alliance to battle Keystone XL plan

A view of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Spiritual Camp in South Dakota, a camp to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo from Shielding the People / Facebook

South Dakota tribes are working with non-Indians in an effort to stop the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline from crossing their state.

TransCanada, the company behind the project, received a conditional permit from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission in February 2010. But since construction did not begin within four years, the 313-mile route must be re-certified.

That's when tribes and their allies stepped in. They are fighting the re-certification out of concern for their water, the environment and treaty lands.

“We’re so frustrated to the point of breaking,” Wayne Frederick, a council member for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, told The New York Times.

The commission was going to hold a public hearing this week on the re-certification. But it's been delayed until the week of July 27, a decision welcomed by tribes and their supporters.

“I think it’s going to be a spiritual victory and we’re not going to back down," Faith Spotted Eagle, the chairwoman of the treaty council of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, told the paper of the effort to defeat the re-certification.

In addition to tribes and individual tribal members who are challenging the re-certification, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy and Dakota Rural Action are also involved in the proceedings, known as In the Matter of the Petition of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP for Order Accepting Certification of Permit Issued in Docket HP09-001 to Construct the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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Grass-Roots Push in the Plains to Block the Keystone Pipeline’s Path (The New York Times 5/6)

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