Today over 200 people in Reno and thousands across the US and internationally mobilized to support the water protectors at Standing Rock in their efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. We gathered at the Army Corps of Engineers field office in Reno to demand the agency cancel the permits and halt the pipeline – now and in the future. Organizers attempted to deliver the below letter to Army Corps staff, but found the office unexpectedly closed.
November 15, 2016
Ms. Kristine Hansen
Senior Project Manager, Nevada-Utah Branch
Army Corps of Engineers field office
300 Booth Street, Reno, NV 89509
Dear Ms. Hansen,
The “Dakota Access” Pipeline (DAPL) is a $3.8B, 1,100 mile fracked-oil pipeline currently under construction from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. DAPL is slated to carry about 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day across Lakota Treaty Territory at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where it would be laid underneath the Missouri River, the longest river on the continent. Construction of DAPL threatens the water source that millions of people depend on. It is not a question of if a pipeline will rupture, it is a question of when.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) fast-tracked the Dakota Access Pipeline without proper consultation or adequate assessment, determining that there will be “no direct or indirect impacts” on the 200 cultural and spiritual sites, the four states the pipeline crosses, or the Missouri River under which the pipeline is slated to run. This lack of due diligence was outlined in critical letters to the USACE from the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Interior, and the American Council on Historical Preservation.
The Obama administration and the USACE must act now to reject this pipeline and cancel the permits. This disaster-waiting-to-happen cannot be passed along to the administration of President elect Donald Drumpf. We cannot and we will not allow our human rights, our Indigenous rights, our water or our climate to be sacrificed for the benefit of corporations.
We are deeply concerned that the Army Corps granted permission for police and private security to arrest water protectors on USACE land. The militarization of the police and private security has escalated this conflict, putting the safety of the water protectors at risk. We demand the Army Corps retract this permission in order to deescalate the situation and ensure the safety of the water protectors.
Similarly, we call on the USACE to discontinue stall tactics, like those described in yesterday’s press release, which stated, “The Army invites the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to engage in discussion regarding potential conditions on an easement for the pipeline crossing that would reduce the risk of a spill, hasten detection and response to any possible spill, or otherwise enhance the protection of Lake Oahe and the Tribe’s water supplies.” This statement, issued one day before massive mobilization against the agency, does not address our clear demand to reject outright the construction of the pipeline. No more stalling, no more rerouting. The USACE has the responsibility to respect indigenous sovereignty, cancel the permits, and halt this project now and in the future.
Many individuals and organizations throughout the state of Nevada have carried out rallies, concerts, fundraisers, and teach ins. Others have traveled to Standing Rock to. In addition we have organized for the transfer of donations, and several members of our community have traveled to Standing Rock, North Dakota to participate in the prayerful resistance on the front-lines. We join this fight because federal regulations are supposed to protect everybody and not privilege corporate profits over basic civil rights of people, and the health and future of our environment. This is happening in collusion with our national government and the state of North Dakota. If it happened in North Dakota, it could happen in Nevada.
Today we join tens of thousands of people at hundreds of events across the country to stand in solidarity with water protectors at Standing Rock. Nevadans are calling on the Army Corps, and stakeholders at every level – including the banks who are funding Dakota Access and the companies building the project – to ensure native sovereignty is honored, indigenous rights are protected, and our communities, water, and climate are valued over fossil fuel profits.
This fight is grounded in the values expressed at the Oceti Sakowin Camp: respect, compassion, honesty, generosity, humility, and wisdom. The protectors have vowed that they will stay on the land indefinitely in order to stop the construction of the pipeline. We vow to continue to stand in solidarity with them. As such, we urge the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately halt the Dakota Access Pipeline and to cancel the permits in order to prevent any further desecration of sacred burial and archaeological sites and to protect the land and water we all depend on.
Stand with Standing Rock, Reno NV
Water is Life!