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If there is a spill, they will have oil and blood on their hands

Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project Lead Counsel

A federal judge today declined to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision came a week after he held a Feb. 28 hearing. The following is the response from Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project Lead Counsel:

It is simply unacceptable that the government is allowing Energy Transfer Partners to build this pipeline through our sacred lands. The water the pipeline threatens supplies the Lakota and more than 17 million other people downstream.

Sunoco, which will operate Dakota Access upon its completion, is the worst pipeline company in America, responsible for more oil spills than any of its competitors. Sunoco is to blame for 254 pipeline leaks in the past 10 years alone, totaling nearly 1,200,000 gallons of oil despoiling Grandmother Earth in that time.

It’s reprehensible that Mr. Trump has fast-tracked this threat. It’s unconscionable that this administration is willing to forego the crucial environmental review demanded by tens of thousands of concerned citizens — not just the tribes, but people from all over the country who recognize the pipeline’s inherent danger. It’s unforgivable that there is no Plan B in the likely event of yet another spill.

Oil should never be allowed to flow through this pipeline until the legal process has played out in the courts, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion for a summary judgment. Now we have just learned that the army trusted a confidential memo from Energy Transfer Partners that intentionally masked the environmental and social justice impacts on our community.

Once again, the federal government and the army are treating the original inhabitants of this land as though we are less than human, as though our lives and lands are something to be ignored and discarded in the never-ending quest for profit.

The latest court ruling against my people is unjust and unacceptable. But I am here to tell you, this fight is not over and we will not surrender. Several steps remain in the legal process.

On March 10, Native Nations and water protectors from around the country will converge in Washington, D.C., to let the president, Judge Boasberg and the army know that they are accomplices to a dangerous, criminal corporation. If there is a spill, they will have oil and blood on their hands, and we will not let them forget it.

Lakota People’s Law Project is a project of the Romero Institute, a federally-recognized 501(c) (3) nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, CA.

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