[A grassroots group of Native and Non-native runners from across North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa are descending upon Omaha, Nebraska today. They are working under the name People Over Pipelines and plan to deliver a demand letter that requests greater scrutiny of the Bakken oil Dakota Access pipeline, or its complete denial by the Army Corps of Engineers. What follows is that letter:]
Dear Colonel John Henderson & The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
We stand in opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We believe that the DAPL has great potential to cause harm to the great people of this nation whose water and livelihood depends on the Missouri River.
We write to you as the peoples of this great land, both Native and non-Native, who rely on the Missouri River and our ecosystems for our livelihoods, our communities, and our futures. For a long time, man has behaved as though he has absolute dominion over nature, and now we are beginning to see the effects of what this attitude has done to our world. As global concerns about environmental issues continue to rise, we too are taking a stand out of concern not only for ourselves, but also for the non-human animals in our communities and for the children who shall become a part of nature after we have passed.
The DAPL is a 1,134-mile oil pipeline from the Bakken Shale deposits to Illinois refineries. The pipeline diameter would be 12-30 inches, with an expected capacity of up to 570,000 barrels per day, or more. The DAPL would cross the Missouri River less than one mile upstream of the mouth of the Cannon Ball River, and it would be only about 12 river miles upstream from the Reservation drinking water intake on the Missouri River at Fort Yates. For this reason, there is a great possibility that anyone who gets their water from the Missouri River will be threatened by a potential spill. In North Dakota alone there have been 300 oil spills in the last two years. It is therefore not a matter of if the pipeline will break, but when, and how large the spill will be when it does. We are deeply concerned about the construction of this pipeline and feel that our needs have not been taken into account before deciding to construct it..
Despite the threat to public health both on and off reservations, there is no lead federal agency for DAPL, so there has been no comprehensive environmental impact analysis. The oil company prepared an environmental report for the Corps of Engineers containing general information about certain segments of the pipeline, but there has been no effort to conduct the requisite analysis under the National Environmental Policy act (NEPA). Important NEPA requirements such as Environmental Justice and the potential impacts on climate change have been totally ignored in the planning process.
Three federal agencies have sent letters to the Army Corps with concerns regarding the draft EA. These organizations are the EPA, the Historic Preservation Office, and the Department of Interior. These agencies have demanded that the Army Corps take several steps before considering issuing a permit to Dakota Access, LLC, and we agree with them.
Before issuing a permit to Dakota Access LLC, the Army Corps must take the following steps:
- Conduct a full EIS to determine potential environmental effects of the DAPL.
- Address additional concerns regarding environmental justice and emergency response actions to spills/leaks.
- Address the potential impact to cultural/historical sites, including native burial grounds.
- Address the lack of communication with tribes over the past several months, and remedy this by properly consulting and coordinating with affected tribes.
- Apply President Barack Obama’s climate test and determine whether this project serves the national interest by not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.
If Dakota Access fails to meet the conditions of any one of these enacted recommendations it stands as a clear indication that it is not a safe & sound project deserving of permitting.
Colonel Henderson, thank you for your time with this letter. We deeply appreciate your time and your consideration of our concerns, our communities, and our water, and we hope that you take us into account when you make a final decision regarding the permit.
People Over Pipelines
The petition that carried this letter is here: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-dakota-access-pipeline — SIGN and SUPPORT!