Tribal leaders still awaiting decision on pipeline hearing as public pressure mounts
Lakota People's Law Project
Leaders from several tribes of the Great Sioux Nation remain in the dark about whether or not the North Dakota Public Service Commission will grant a public hearing around a plan to double the oil the Dakota Access Pipeline will carry in close proximity to their reservations.
The Commission set an original deadline of August 9 for public comment on whether or not hearing should be held, but has yet to announce a decision.
In partnership with Lakota leadership and in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council’s recent resolution calling for the hearing and for public support, the Lakota People’s Law Project has helped with public outreach that has, so far, inspired more than 19,000 letters from the public to Commission Chair Brian Kroshus.
Statements from the tribal leaders on the necessity of the hearing:
“My main concern with DAPL is that they've basically disregarded Indian input,” stated Rodney Bordeaux, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, located downstream from Standing Rock. “The water comes down through here, our territory, so we have to make sure that the water is clean and stays clean.”
“Now we have a situation where it's basically a different pipeline,” said Chase Iron Eyes, who serves as lead counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project and public relations director for Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner. “They’re trying to pretend like they don’t owe us legal and regulatory oversight. It’s time to stand again with Standing Rock.”
Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Charles Walker: “This isn’t benefiting Standing Rock, our brother and sister tribes just south of us, and it’s not even benefiting the American people. It’s going towards corporations.”
Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner said, “We have to hold the United States government accountable, and we have to assert our authority,” he said. “We need to assert our sovereignty, and that's what the government needs to expect every time they come to us.”
Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier expressed serious safety concerns about any increase to the pipeline’s oil flow. “We don't know if the pipeline is capable of handling [it], and I haven't seen any documents to justify that.”
The Lakota People's Law Project operates under the 501(c)(3) Romero Institute, a nonprofit law and policy center.