Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects

After youth read their petition to prevent the Sakagawea Pipeline to the Three Affiliated Tribes Business Council at its New Town, North Dakota headquarters, councilors voted to forestall the construction project. Photo courtesy Kandi Mossett

Indians score big against rising fossil fuel schemes
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

NEW TOWN, N.D –– From the Northern Great Plains to the Pacific Coast, Native Americans figured prominently in decision making about impending fossil fuel transportation projects during the week of May 8.

The Lummi Nation celebrated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to block a giant proposed Pacific Coast export facility for coal from Wyoming, while the Sioux Nation wondered if its pleas would convince the federal agency to nix Dakota Access Pipeline plans to pump petroleum products from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields across the Missouri River.

The ongoing protests against Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline were joined by actions against other new proposals for lines piping oil out of the Bakken formation centered at the Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara (MHA) Nation on Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

A youth-led horseback ride and run against the slated Sakagawea Pipeline across the Missouri and grassroots opposition to TransCanada Corp.’s looming crude pipeline expansion plans in the Northern Great Plains capped the environmental awareness activities of the week, which were grounded largely in treaty rights arguments.

“The potential impacts to the Lummi Nation’s usual and accustomed fishing rights from the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal” mean that “the project cannot be permitted by the Corps,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a May 9 announcement about the coal port.

Corps Seattle District Commander Col. John Buck based the decision on the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot, which established the Suquamish Port Madison, Tulalip, Swinomish, and Lummi reservations, guaranteeing fishing rights in perpetuity on the very spot where North America’s largest coal export terminal would have been built at Xwe’chi’eXen, or Cherry Point, Wash.

The Lummi Nation had asked the Corps of Engineers to deny the building permit application for the terminal on Jan. 5, explaining that salmon fisheries, jobs and cultural survival were at stake for area tribes.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Indians score big against rising fossil fuel schemes

(Contact Talli Nauman at

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