Monday, November 21, 2016

Basic Standing Rock Q&A

Q: "What property rights of the Standing Rock Reservation are menaced by the Dakota Access Pipeline? It doesn't go through reservation land, it follows the route of existing pipelines, and they've already gone through an extensive approval process that lasted two years.

The heart of the matter is that protesters don't like oil and don't want to build pipelines because it implicitly endorses the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels. That's a perfectly acceptable viewpoint, but don't get co-opted by false claims this is simply about the tribe's property rights."
A: Because the pipeline runs under a river that does go through their property. When the pipeline bursts, the Tribe has to drink the contaminated water.
Q: But there's already a gas pipeline that goes along the same route and there are hundreds of pipelines in the U.S. that cross waterways. The Army Corps of Engineers has already evaluated this route as the least environmentally damaging one. Pipelines on the whole are MUCH less damaging than other means of transport like trucks and trains, which will be used if there's no pipeline. What's the problem?
A: Another problem is that the pipe goes through treaty lands and historical sites that were neglected in the permitting process. Consultation and recognition of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was particularly neglected.

On the environmental side, if the pipe went north of Bismarck, then the pipe operators would have to be more careful of spills because the ND Supreme Court is right there in Bismarck. DAPL wanted to hedge their environmental liability, so they figured better to impose on the Native pushovers who wouldn't sue them so hard if/when a spill happens.

Too bad they didn't realize that a unified front of Native people across the country, and eventually "white" allies like myself, were standing right beside them. Not so much pushovers.

Easy-Read References:

A discussion of some of DAPL's illegalities here.

A graphic display of the American Genocide aka "Manifest Destiny" here with lots of citations.

The 1980 US court case that affirmed the Lakota claim to treaty lands including DAPL's pipe route is here. Here's an excerpt:
Under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the United States pledged that the Great Sioux Reservation, including the Black Hills, would be "set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation" of the Sioux Nation (Sioux), and that no treaty for the cession of any part of the reservation would be valid as against the Sioux unless executed and signed by at least three-fourths of the adult male Sioux population.
Subsequently, in 1876, an "agreement" presented to the Sioux by a special Commission but signed by only 10% of the adult male Sioux population, provided that the Sioux would relinquish their rights to the Black Hills and to hunt in the unceded territories, in exchange for subsistence rations for as long as they would be needed. In 1877, Congress passed an Act (1877 Act) implementing this "agreement" and thus, in effect, abrogated the Fort Laramie Treaty. Throughout the ensuing years, the Sioux regarded the 1877 Act as a breach of that treaty, but Congress did not enact any mechanism by which they could litigate their claims against the United States until 1920, when a special jurisdictional Act was passed.

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