Members of the Lakota Nation, as well as other Native American tribes from throughout the American West, are organizing to block any construction on the Keystone XL pipeline:
“It poses a threat to our sacred water and the product is coming from the tar sands and our tribes oppose the tar sands mining,” said Deborah White Plume, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which is part of the Lakota Nation in South Dakota. “All of our tribes have taken action to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.”
The Lakota Nation is preparing for the eventuality the pipeline receives approval. The nation has led the formation of a project called “Shielding the People” to stop the pipeline. The Lakota also launched a “moccasins on the ground” program to train people in Indigenous communities to oppose the pipeline.
There are also plans to set up spiritual camps along the pipeline’s route. But when and where those camps will spring up remains a closely guarded secret.
“It will band all Lakota to live together and you can’t cross a living area if it’s occupied,” said Greg Grey Cloud, of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “If it does get approved we aim to stop it.”
The battle lines have already been drawn in tribal council chambers. The Oglala Sioux Tribe passed a resolution Friday banning TransCanada and former AFN national chief Phil Fontaine, who has been hired by the energy firm to deal with First Nations opposition to its Energy East project in Canada, from entering its territory.
I’ve revisited the 1461 letters I wrote over the four years of the Climate Letter Project, and over the next month I’ll be providing resources to anyone who wants to go Regulations.gov and make a public comment about the Keystone XL pipeline.
Here are some bullet points to work from. Go and make a comment. Make two. Comment early and often; you’re allowed to do it more than once!
• The inevitable leaks will contaminate one of the nation’s most important aquifers with carcinogens.
• Extracting tar sands oil is going to devastate huge expanses of forest, leaving a moonscape behind and eliminating a critical carbon sink.
• Putting all that CO2 into the atmosphere will kick global warming into overdrive, pushing the Earth down the path to an ever-bleaker future.
• NIMBY is an inadequate response to the Keystone XL. We need to say NOMP — “Not On My Planet!”
• An economy in which corporate profits outrank the long-term survival and prosperity of our species is profoundly immoral.