Protest urges President Obama to deny Keystone XL Pipeline

Tribal members are getting ready to show their opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline as President Barack Obama visits Watertown, South Dakota. Photo from Indigenous Environmental Network

Tribal leaders, members and activists are sending a strong message to President Barack Obama as he visits South Dakota today: reject the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Obama is delivering the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown this afternoon. While he's there, tribal activists will be across the street to make their opposition to the pipeline clear.

“The tribal nations and people of South Dakota stand resolute in their objection to the construction of this dirty tar sands pipeline” Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said. “The President is coming to South Dakota and we will be there. Grassroots leaders, Native and non-Native, encouraging Obama to take a great step towards creating a lasting climate legacy and reject the Keystone XL Pipeline."

Watertown is just a few miles from the southern edge of the Lake Traverse Reservation, the home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Although a meeting with the tribe hasn't been confirmed, Chairman Bruce Renville might be able to speak to the president while he's in town.

"We are seeking an opportunity to be heard. We are here seeking your help to stop Keystone XL and to protect the women and children of our communities,” said Greg Grey Cloud, the co-founder of Wica Agli whose arrest at the U.S. Capitol last year helped draw attention to the cause.

Today's visit is Obama first to South Dakota as president. He met with tribal leaders there during his 2008 campaign.

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