Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), owned by Houston, Texas based corporation called Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. which created the subsidary Dakota Access LLC.
The DAPL, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day (which is fracked and highy volatile) from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. In August 2016, the final finances were secured when Enbridge and the Marathon Petroleum Company bought a 2 billion dollar share.
Despite pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Dakota Access has failed to consult tribes and conduct a full environmental impact statement. The proposed route crosses the Missouri River at the confluence with the Cannon Ball river, and area that is of utmost cultural and spiritual, and environmental significance. The confluence an important location for the Mandan origin story as the place where they came into the world after the great flood. Where the two waters meet once created Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí, spherical Sacred Stones (thus the colonizers’ term ‘Cannon Ball’), but after the Army Corp of Engineers dredged and flooded the rivers in the 50s, the flow has changed and Sacred Stones are no longer produced. There are historic burial grounds, village grounds and Sundance sites that would be directly impacted. The water of the Missouri River is essential to life on the Standing Rock Reservation as well as all of the nations and states downstream.
The threats this pipeline poses to the environment, human health and human rights are the same as those that were posed by the Keystone XL. The current route of the DAPL will cross over the Ogallala Aquifer (one of the largest aquifers in the world) and under the Missouri River twice (the longest river in the United States). The possible contamination of these water sources makes the Dakota Access pipeline a national threat.
DAKOTA ACCESS IS VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW
FORT LARAMIE TREATY OF APRIL 29, 1868
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) violates Article 2 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty which guarantees that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe shall enjoy the “undisturbed use and occupation” of our permanent homeland, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The U.S. Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 12898 ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
All agencies must determine if proposed project disproportionately impacts Tribal community or other minority communities. The DAPL was original routed to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck. The crossing was moved to “avoid populated areas”, so instead of crossing upriver of the state’s capital, it crosses the aquifer of the Great Sioux Reservation.
PIPELINE SAFETY ACT AND CLEAN WATER ACT
DAPL has not publicly identified the Missouri River crossing as high consequence. The Ogallala Aquifer must be considered a“high consequence area”, since the pipeline would cross critical drinking water and intakes for those water systems.The emergency plan must estimate the maximum possible spill (49 CFR§195.452(h)(iv)(i)). DAPL refuses to release this information to the tribe.
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT (NEPA)
A detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be completed for major actions that affect the environment. Also, the Army Corps of Engineers must comply w/ NEPA for the permit for the Missouri River crossing. The way agencies get around this is to provide a lesser study, a brief Environmental Assessment (which Dakota Access has done). A full EIS would be an interdisciplinary approach for the integrated use of natural and social sciences to determine direct and indirect effects of the project and “possible conflicts…with Indian land use plans and policies…(and) cultural resources” 40 CFR §1502.16
EXECUTIVE ORDER 13007 ON PROTECTION OF SACRED SITES
“In managing federal lands, each executive branch agency shall avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sites.” There are historical ceremony sites and burial grounds in the immediate vicinity of the Missouri River crossing. The Corps must deny the DAPL permit to protect these sites in compliance with EO 13007.
EXCERPTS FROM STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE RESOLUTION NO. 406-15 SEP 2, 2015
WHEREAS, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was established as a permanent homeland for the Hunkpapa, Yanktonai, Cuthead and Blackfoot bands of the Great Sioux Nation: and
WHEREAS, the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens public health and welfare on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation; and
WHEREAS, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe relies on the waters of the life-giving Missouri River for our continued existence, and the Dakota Access Pipeline poses a serious risk to Mni Sose and to the very survival of our Tribe; and .
WHEREAS, the horizontal direction drilling in the construction of the pipeline would destroy valuable cultural resources of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; and
WHEREAS, the Dakota Access Pipeline violates Article 2 of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty which guarantees that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe shall enjoy the “undisturbed use and occupation” of our permanent homeland, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council hereby strongly opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council call upon the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the river crossing permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline…
Source: Sacred Stone Camp
Water defenders on horseback carrying a replica of a flag taken from General Custer.