CANNON BALL, N.D. - The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said it is undaunted in its commitment to challenge an easement announcement by the U.S. Department of the Army for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The drinking water of millions of Americans is now at risk. We are a sovereign nation and we will fight to protect our water and sacred places from the brazen private interests trying to push this pipeline through to benefit a few wealthy Americans with financial ties to the Trump administration,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Americans have come together in support of the Tribe asking for a fair, balanced and lawful pipeline process. The environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated. This pipeline was unfairly rerouted across our treaty lands. The Trump administration – yet again – is poised to set a precedent that defies the law and the will of Americans and our allies around the world.”
Attorneys for the Tribe say the easement cannot be granted legally at this time.
“The Obama administration correctly found that the Tribe’s treaty rights needed to be acknowledged and protected, and that the easement should not be granted without further review and consideration of alternative crossing locations,” said Jan Hasselman, lead attorney for the Tribe.
“Trump’s reversal of that decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian Tribes and unlawful violation of Treaty rights. They will be held accountable in court.”
The tribe says their next steps include: challenging any easement decision on the grounds that the EIS was wrongfully terminated; demanding an environmental impact statement to identify risks to treaty rights, including its water supply and sacred places; asking the court for DAPL to disclose its oil spill and risk assessment records; shutting pipeline operations down if the easement passes and hosting a Native Nations march on Washington March 10.
“We ask that our allies join us in demanding that Congress demand a fair and accurate process,” Archambault II said. “Our fight is no longer at the North Dakota site itself. Our fight is with Congress and the Trump administration. Meet us in Washington on March 10.”
Archambault II said he knows the Standing Rock movement has inspired people around the world to shape their world at home and abroad.
“As Native peoples, we have been knocked down again, but we will get back up, we will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact. We call on the Native Nations of the United States to stand together, unite and fight back. Under this administration, all of our rights, everything that makes us who we are is at risk. Please respect our people and do not come to Standing Rock and instead exercise your First Amendment rights and take this fight to your respective state capitols, to your members of Congress, and to Washington, DC.”