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Indigenous Environmental Network Updates: Keystone XL Pipeline – October 2018
The ACLU in September sued the State of Montana for records pertaining to information regarding the anticipated crackdown and surveillance of protestors against KXL. They began requesting the information since the spring with no result. The lawsuit is specifically for information requested in FOIA requests to the state of Montana which have been ignored.
TransCanada announced they are going to open a mancamp near the Fort Peck reservation with limited personnel while pre-construction starts in Montana with up to 100 people. On site reports show it is being built.
In September Fort Belknap and Rosebud Sioux tribes asked a federal court in Great Falls to rescind the line’s permit issued by the U.S. State Department due to potential damage to cultural sites from spills and during construction.
Pipeline yards are being constructed in South Dakota. Survey work continues on easements.
“TransCanada spokesman Matthew John said the company remains committed to moving ahead with the project following years of reviews from federal and state regulators. The company has already started preparing pipe yards, transporting pipe and mowing parts of the project’s right-of-way in Montana and South Dakota”
“TransCanada, told the board (Pennington County) that there are plans to construct the pipeline in 2019, with “pre-activities” starting this fall. Those activities require haul road agreements with the county boards along the pipeline’s route.” Rapid City Journal:
No camp is planned for Bridger. Everyone is asked to protect that community and to abide by the wishes of the people who live there. That does not mean that non violent actions, prayer runs or walks might happen or other actions. But Bridger must be protected as per their request.
Shield the People Oyate Wahacanka Woecun is a project established to make known the intentions and will of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in opposition to the social and environmental impacts of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Project. The site is still open and announcements will be made as the board moves to reopen the camp under new vetting procedures and guidelines for the camp. Watch for updates.
Solar XL South Dakota
Working with alliances including the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Indigenous Environmental Network, Braveheart Society, 350.org, and Bold Alliance among others, Solar XL was launched with solar installs put in the path of KXL. A goal of $60,000 is being raised to do installs in South Dakota with one of the installs to be on reservation land. (We are almost to the goal).
This summer the Tanderup family donated a portion of their family farm back to the Ponca nation both the northern and southern Ponca which is being put into trust status. KXL would have to cross that. It is also the site where their sacred Ponca corn was helped to be brought back from extinction and planted and harvested every year. The harvest this year is October 6.
The landowners sued their Public Utilities Commission which has gone to their state supreme court and a decision should be known sometime in October 2018 after oral arguments. The suit states that the mainline alternative route, which TransCanada never applied for, and that the commission overstepped its approval process by choosing an alternative route, was not subject to testimony.
Meetings have been ongoing in Nebraska with landowners along the mainline alternative route. Right now about 62% of landowners have signed easements which is down from the 88% along the original route.
The Winnebago tribe is still supporting No KXL opposition efforts as well as the Northern and Southern (Oklahoma) Ponca Tribe.
Federal lawsuit combined
Several environmental organizations including Indigenous Environmental Network, NRDC, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Northern Plains Resource Council among others had 2 federal lawsuits combined by federal judge Brian Morris in Montana. He ordered that the new mainline alternative route go through a full Environmental Impact Study and not a Environmental Assessment that TransCanada wanted. That hearing is October 9th in Lincoln NE. Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.: Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S 13th St, Lincoln, NE 68508
However it should be noted that,”U.S. State Department review ordered by a federal judge concluded that major environmental damage from a leak is unlikely and could quickly be mitigated, a company spokesman said Monday.” cbsnews.com
The hearing is after they have already made a conclusion.
They need to be reminded what happened on the Keystone 1 on November 16, 2017 where a spill occurred near Amherst SD which was nearly twice as large as first reported it being 9,770 barrels, or 410,340 million gallons,some of that did leak into ground water, despite initial reports. The leak was attributed to construction flaws.
Divestment is the active call to not invest in extractive industries that are contributing to climate change. It is one tool in our tool box to hold banks accountable along with other large scale investors as climate change causes chaos and destruction on a world scale and that direct threats to our homelands. The Keystone XL project is funded by Wells Fargo, US Bank, and JP Morgan Stanley Chase banks with credit renewals and direct funding of TransCanada or their subsidiaries.
This spring several groups worked together including IEN, Rainforest Action Network, Society of Native Nations, Stop ETP coalition and others to attend the AGM or shareholders meetings of these 3 banks to call on them to stop funding climate chaos, Energy Transfer Partner projects, and to stop funding KXL. It was a rare opportunity and in all three meetings we were able to make some contact with higher up CEO’s. They have not stop funding the projects however.
It should be noted that the National Congress of American Indians has not divested from Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has implemented a 10 million grant program over 5 years targeting Native Communities to try and clean up their image. That is a small bucket compared to their 5 billion invested between 2014 to 2016 in tar sands development and other petroleum based products.
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