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Dakota Rural Action Opposes DAPL Permit Approval

Dakota Rural Action joins the call demanding the Army Corps of Engineers fulfill their federal requirement and completion of a full environmental impact statement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The crossing of the Missouri River near Cannonball ND would create an unacceptable and potential risk to the drinking water of an estimated 60% of South Dakota’s population. Hundreds of thousands of people are reliant upon the Missouri River for its drinking water through numerous rural water systems. Just a few miles upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Dakota Access Pipeline estimates 500,000 barrels of oil will flow under the Missouri River every day.

In the past ten years oil spills have escalated at an alarming rate with over 3000 oil spills occurring in the United States alone, and over 220 oil spills in 2016, with estimates of damages ranging over $4B. In December 2016, more than 156,000 gallons of oil spilled within 200 miles from Cannonball, North Dakota the location of the largest water protector camp in modern history, and the traditional treaty lands of our allies the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It is abundantly evident that pipelines do in fact leak and accidents happen. Fossil fuels are a devastating hazard to the landscape, water, environment and air quality. The incessant spills are due to lack of adequately maintained and faulty infrastructure. This is a detrimental concern when it crosses within waterways. It is not a matter of “if” it is a matter of “when” the infrastructure will leak, break or fail. This violation of human rights is an atrocity. The decision to grant the permit to approve this pipeline directly jeopardizes the water source of hundreds of thousands of people including landowners, ranchers, farmers, and wildlife in order to subsidize a billionaire CEO under the guise of benefiting the people and illegality taking lands under erroneous procedures of eminent domain.

President of Dakota Rural Action’s Board of Directors, John Harter a rancher from Tripp County states “the fact that unethical practices "lies and deception" are used to gain easement in a moral government should be enough to deny any and all permits. Doing the right thing is not based on dollars to make the Govt and or individuals richer in monetary value.” John is speaking from experience as he is one of the many landowners in Eastern South Dakota that have been directly affected by the continual threat of the Keystone KXL pipeline. Further groundwater pollution is not an option. The executive decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to not comply with federal guidelines and completing the process of the Environmental Impact Statement in addition to proper consultation with the Tribes undermines treaty and sovereign nation rights.

Tuesday night members of the Senate and House Natural Resources Committee sent a joint letter to President Trump expressing their deep concern for the decision of the Army Corp of Engineers to grant the permit to approve the pipeline without proper tribal consultation and completion of the required EIS. Their very clear message to Trump stated in portion “a number of us have repeatedly expressed our concerns with the tribal consultation and permitting process and have called for meaningful consultation with tribes and a substantive review of the environmental and social impacts as well as potential alternatives. The arbitrary and capricious decision to grant the easement now ignores the rights of tribal governments, circumvents legal requirements, and stifles the voices of millions of people who have expressed concerns over the process to date. Granting this easement without meaningful tribal consultation, nor proper review of environmental impacts, is unlawful and morally unacceptable.”

On Wednesday, during an interview Trump stated as you know I approved the pipelines “I don’t think it was even controversial, I haven’t had one call from anybody, nobody showed up to fight it” showing how out of touch with this issue he really is.

Irreparable damage from Dakota Access Pipeline has already destroyed historical sites and the landscape without any consideration of the future generations and the impact of these decisions on tomorrow and 50 years from now. The time is now to be the change and make a positive impact on generations to come. Please make the phone calls to the White House and your senators and demand they deny the Dakota Access Pipeline once and for all. Water is a precious resource, water is life.

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