EPA Visits Standing Rock Reservation - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

EPA Visits Standing Rock Reservation

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In an energy-rich state like North Dakota, it seems everyone with a vested interest has an opinion on what should or shouldn't happen next.  So, when the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency visits, they want to their messages to be heard. She visited the Standing Rock Reservation today, and other visits are set for tomorrow.

Tribal leaders say they're concerned about the potential impacts of  the Keystone XL pipeline.
Council members say the pipeline could interfere with natural water sources and endanger access to clean drinking water.

"It's genocide, because it's the taking of our water. It's the destroying of our water quality and the potential for clean drinking water for humanity. We are the canary in the mine. And you need water, just like we need water," says tribal council member Phyllis Young.

The tribe has issued a resolution in opposition to the pipeline. And the head of the Environmental Protection Agency says she understands their concerns.

"Relative to the concerns you've expressed to me over the availability and access to clean ground water in drinking water supplies, as well as impacts on surface water, which can impact natural resources that are important to the tribe, these are not unusual considerations or concerns. I think we share those," says U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy says she also understand the burdens tribes have had to pay for broader national gains.
And she hopes the tribe and the EPA can work through the water quality challenges together.

"We're focused on protecting everybody equally and ensuring that everyone has access to clean water, clean air, and safe land to live on. And there are populations that have been left behind. There are pockets of individuals that are facing more significant challenges environmentally than others," says McCarthy.

The tribe presented McCarthy with a quilt to show their appreciation for her visit and the partnership they will continue to have.

McCarthy also visited Sitting Bull tribal college and the solid waste transfer station.

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