FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gay Kingman, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, (605) 721-6168
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, (507) 412-7609
Robert Flying Hawk, Yankton Sioux Chairman, (605) 384-3804
Tribal Nations Ask President Obama to Reject KXL and Request Emergency Meeting with Department of Interior
Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association concerned about exclusion of Tribal interests on tar sands pipeline debate and the impact on Treaty Rights
Link to Letter (PDF)
Rapid City, SD – The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (GPTCA) Chairman and President of Oglala Sioux Tribe, John Steele sent an official letter yesterday to President Barack Obama expressing several urgent tribal concerns about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline’s impact on tribal homelands. The letter urged the President to reject the Keystone XL presidential permit, informed him of a South Dakota Public Utility Commission (SDPUC) process currently happening to recertify the construction permit for that state and requested a meeting with Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to discuss tribal concerns of the proposed pipeline. The GPTCA is made up of the 16 Sovereign American Indian Tribes in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
“We request an emergency meeting with Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who as our Trustee, has a responsibility to hear directly from tribal leaders in a government-to-government meeting.”, states President Steele in his letter to President Obama. “We are prepared to put forth our concerns for inclusion in the forthcoming Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) regarding the impacts the Keystone XL pipeline may have on Tribal homelands as well as our sacred sites, cultural resources, natural resources and water rights protected by treaty and other agreements.”
The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), an international environmental justice non-profit, has been working with GPTCA and Oceti Sakowin leaders of South Dakota on the campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands infrastructure development. IEN and other Oceti Sakowin leaders have made supportive statements of President Steele’s letter to President Obama.
Ihanktonwan/Yankton Sioux Tribal Chairman Robert Flying Hawk states: “The Yankton are adamant about meeting with Secretary Jewell regarding the intrusion of our territory by Transcanada, as it is no small matter. Our water rights, protection of our cultural resources and safety of our Oceti Sakowin children and families over ride any Congressional lobby influences by Big Oil. We stand strong with all the other leaders of the Oceti Sakowin and Indigenous peoples affected by tar sands.”
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network states: “We stand in solidarity with our Oceti Sakowin relatives and encourage the Department of Interior to dissent from a KXL permit approval and give President Obama all the more reason to reject this dirty tar sands pipeline. We ask this for the benefit of the land, the water, our communities, our sacred sites, and the territorial integrity of the sacredness of Mother Earth.”
If supporters and allies wish to support the GPTCA’s meeting request with the Department of Interior’s Secretary Jewell please contact the Department of Interior at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to her on Twitter @SecretaryJewell. Please contact your Senator at www.senate.gov and ask them to Reject the Keystone XL pipeline when it comes up for a vote. Comments are also welcome for the South Dakota Public Utilties Commission in Docket HP014-001 www.puc.sd.gov