CEH Statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) stands with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Water Protectors and other communities who oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). We strenuously object to the Trump administration’s reckless and illegal actions in pushing this toxic project forward, in violation of Native American treaty rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, free, prior and informed consent and health and environmental protections that all Americans deserve.

We are disappointed by the ruling today denying the Tribes’ objections to DAPL on the grounds that the project trespasses on sacred grounds, thus denying their religious freedom. We support the ongoing legal and other efforts by the Tribes to stop this polluting pipeline.

“The oil industry’s pipeline poses unacceptable threats to the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s water supply, and to the health and safety of millions of Americans along the pipeline route,” said Michael Green, CEO of CEH. “There is no justification for this pipeline to go forward, other than the short-term profits of polluting corporations. It is time to end our dangerous reliance on unhealthy and climate-destroying fossil fuels and adopt national policies for a swift transition to a clean energy future.”  

Brief Background

DAPL would cover more than 1,100 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, carrying up to 450,000 barrels of fracked oil per day and potentially increasing to 570,000 barrels per day. Spills from oil and gas pipelines are routine and threaten local communities’ health, drinking water supplies, and natural habitat.

Even according to the company behind DAPL, the project will create just 40 permanent jobs. By contrast, a recent study found that a commitment to powering just 25% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources would create nearly 1,000 jobs in North Dakota alone.

The proposed route of DAPL calls for the pipeline to run under the Missouri River (at Lake Oahe) just half a mile upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Tribe relies on the area’s clean water supply and considers the waters of the Missouri River as sacred and central to the Tribe’s practice of religion. The Tribe has vehemently objected to the project and have warned about the devastation a spill would bring to their people. DAPL is also a clear example of environmental racism: the pipeline was originally intended to cross the river 10 miles north of the predominantly white city of Bismarck, but was re-routed after residents there raised concerns that a leak would threaten their drinking water, health and environment.

CEH calls for an immediate halt to DAPL and all new fossil fuel development and transportation projects, and a turn towards a national energy policy based on a swift transition to clean, renewable energy sources. We support the Tribes’ efforts to stop DAPL, and the Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March in Washington DC on March 10.

See our full statement and more information.

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