CANNON BALL, N.D. – The Standing Rock Sioux has set up a camp in North Dakota to protest a planned pipeline to carry crude from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois over concerns that a spill would impact the tribe’s drinking water.
The “spirit camp” at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers has been occupied for two weeks, with people coming and going in peaceful protest, The Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1SGbb8S ). There is no scheduled end date.
People at the camp are sleeping in shelters, eating donated food and spending their days in contemplation, conversation and prayer. Willow frames for sweat lodges and a colorful prayer post stand beside the camp, along with tribal flags.
The camp is modeled after one occupied for months by residents of South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that ultimately was rejected by President Barack Obama.
The proposed $3.8 billion, 1,130-mile Dakota Access pipeline by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners would pass through North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa on its way to Illinois. Regulators in all states have approved the project, but it still needs federal approval. The Environmental Protection Agency and two other federal agencies recently asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to more carefully review the pipeline, saying the corps should pay closer attention to the impact a spill would have on drinking water for Native American tribes.
Standing Rock Sioux leaders also have asked the federal government for more environmental studies.
“We will stop it. We have prayer with us,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a tribal historian and preservation employee who provided family land for the protest camp. “We are not expendable.”
Energy Transfer Partners maintains the pipeline will be a safe and cost-effective way to transport oil, and will create jobs and boost the economy.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com