Native American leaders urge Obama to reject Keystone XL Pipeline permit
Native American leaders urge Obama to reject Keystone XL Pipeline
By Brenda Norrell
Photo: Native American and First Nation leaders at the National Press Club in DC last week, opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. Photo IEN.
WASHINGTON -- Native American leaders urged President Obama to reject the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, during a meeting at the third annual White House Tribal Nations Conference on Friday.
The Indigenous Environmental Network said a delegation of Native leaders called on Obama to reject a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The leaders also presented Obama with the Mother Earth Accord. The Accord outlines unique concerns of the United States leaders, and First Nation leaders in Canada. Their concerns are over the Keystone XL, Alberta Tar Sands and the heavy haul in Idaho and Montana.
During the meeting, Native American leaders presented Obama with a copy of the Academy Award nominated documentary film, Pipe Dreams.
"The 1,700-mile proposed Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline has been mired in controversy since its inception and poses a significant threat to tribal water quality, public health, and cultural heritage in both the United States and Canada. In Alberta, extraction of tar sands oil has already been linked to a 30 percent elevated rate of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases in First Nations communities downstream from the project," IEN said.
The Indigenous Environmental Network issued a statement from Lakota leaders who met with Obama.
President Steele of Oglala Sioux Nation stated, “I will stand against the Keystone XL pipeline as long as it threatens to contaminate the Mni Wiconi water pipeline and threatens the clean drinking water and health of the Oglala people.”
The Mother Earth Accord, developed this past September during the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, demonstrates the unity among the Tribes on both sides of the border. It includes the State Department’s failureto hold meaningful consultations with US tribes and treaty rights violations.
Over twenty Canadian First Nations and US Tribes, as well as private landowners, private citizens, environmental NGO’s, Indigenous peoples organizations and political parties including the New Democratic Party of Canada, the official opposition of the federal Canadian Government, have endorsed it, IEN said.
Chairman Rodney Bordeaux of the Rosebud Sioux Nation said, ”I sat next to President Obama, and I asked him to not sign the Presidential permit, and I feel that he listened to my concerns seriously. I stand with my brothers and sisters on both sides of the border in opposition to this proposed pipeline.”
“While we applaud President Obama’s reaction to the concerns of Tribes, land owners and civil society we are still greatly concerned that the administration has only delayed the decision. We have supported this bi-national delegation of First Nations and Tribal leaders to come to Washington DC to tell President Obama an outright denial of the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline is the moral path forward," said Marty Cobenais, US Pipeline Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network.
"The Indigenous Environmental Network and our allies will continue to support the leadership and grassroots members of First Nations and US Tribes in their opposition Keystone XL and other initiatives that would violate the treaty rights and the human and ecological health of our peoples, lands and way of life," IEN said.
For More information: US Pipeline Campaigner-Marty Cobenais firstname.lastname@example.org or call (Cell) 218 760 6632 Canadian Tar Sands Campaigner-Clayton Thomas-Muller email@example.com or call (Cell) 613 297 7515
To Read Mother Earth Accord- http://www.ienearth.org/docs/mother-earth-accord.html