Native Sun News Today: Tribes promise fight against Keystone XL

South Dakota Sen. Kevin Killer (D), a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, speaks at a rally against the Keystone XL Pipeline on March 8, 2017, rally in Pierre, South Dakota. Photo by Talli Nauman

Tribes censure bill ‘criminalizing’ protests
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

PIERRE –– At a hearing and rally on March 8, Keystone XL Pipeline opponents lobbed the first volley of resistance against the private Canadian tar-sands crude export project since newly installed U.S. President Donald Trump revived the rejected proposal for a route across 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline resistance was just the preseason,” Oglala Lakota state Sen. Kevin Killer said at the rally outside the Sixth Circuit Court, where Judge John Brown heard arguments over the validity of Keystone XL Pipeline promoter TransCanada Corp.’s South Dakota permit.

Killer referred to a seven-month standoff between North Dakota militarized police and Native American tribal constituents, who, along with allies from around the world, held high-profile actions in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit to protect sacred sites and Missouri River water from that line throughout 2016.

As nearly 100 people rallied around Killer and other speakers outside the courthouse, thousands more were heading for a demonstration on the Washington Mall against the Administration’s decision allowing Dakota Access Pipeline construction across the river one-half mile upstream from Standing Rock’s primary drinking water intake.

On the second full working day of his Administration, Trump fulfilled campaign promises by requesting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers drop its environmental impact statement process for the Dakota Access Pipeline and by inviting TransCanada Corp. to resubmit its denied application for a Presidential Permit to build the Keystone XL across the U.S.-Canada border into Lakota Territory.

Grassroots spirit camps encouraging prayer gatherings to create a unified front against the pipelines through the Northern Great Plains during the previous Administration of Barack Obama culminated in the largest coalescence of tribes since the Battle of the Little Bighorn two centuries ago.

With hundreds of tribal governments and traditional leaders in agreement, the attention they drew to land and human rights issues catapulted the pipeline construction proposals into the international policy sphere, providing a background to Obama’s decisions against peremptory permitting.

However, TransCanada Corp. retaliated with an $15-billion lawsuit against the United States for loss of potential profits, under the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The suit went on standby as soon as Trump gave the greenlight to expedite federal permitting.

At the rally in Pierre, Crow Creek Tribal Chair Brandon Sazue warned that the revival of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are part of a larger panorama. “Money’s buying everything today,” he said. “We’re losing the EPA. The Cabinet is being filled with billionaires.”

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Tribes censure bill ‘criminalizing’ protests

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