BISMARCK, ND, Feb. 8, 2017 – Water Protector Legal Collective is outraged by the U.S. Department of the Army’s notification to Congress today that it intends to grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to drill under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ stated intention to disregard its policy of waiting 14 days after Congressional notification before granting an easement is a further slap in the face to due process of law and is one more example of the shameful disregard for treaty rights and serious environmental concerns that have plagued this project.
This pipeline would cause serious and irreparable harm to lands and waters that are sacred to the Oceti Šakowiŋ – the “Seven Council Fires” or the Great Sioux Nation. These lands were reserved to the Tribes by the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, and remain central to their cultural and physical survival. This action further curtails the inherent sovereign authority and treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Water Protector Legal Collective calls on the Army Corps to immediately reinstate the customary 14-day waiting period and to reconsider its decision to grant this easement in favor of allowing a full environmental impact statement to be conducted.
“It’s time for the U.S. government to turn away from its shameful legacy of abuse towards indigenous communities and allow the Tribe to have a meaningful voice in a project that negatively impacts their access to clean water, exercise of hunting and fishing rights, and protection of sacred and ceremonial grounds,” said WPLC President Brandy Toelupe. “The Environmental Impact Statement must be allowed to run its course.”
Also today, federal district court Judge Daniel Hovland denied the Water Protectors’ request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting law enforcement from indiscriminate use of impact munitions, explosive grenades, and water cannons or hoses, to break up pipeline protests. (Dundon et al. v. Kirchmeier case number NDD 1:16-CV-00406). Plaintiffs’ attorneys will file an immediate appeal.
“The court’s opinion condones law enforcement’s unlawful use of dangerous weapons to quell protest. Two people have lost an eye, one has lost part of her arm, and dozens more have been seriously injured by the Morton County Sheriff’s wanton violence,” said Rachel Lederman, lead plaintiffs’ attorney. “We expect the Eighth Circuit to reverse this erroneous decision.”
WPLC calls on law enforcement to respect the constitutional and human rights of Water Protectors in the ceremonial resistance camps at Standing Rock.
Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, ND in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). To support this work, please visit https://fundrazr.com/