We stand in resistance with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to defend their sacred lands and water from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
The DAPL, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels of fracked and highly volatile crude oil per day from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. As low-income Asian immigrants and refugees, we denounce this private, environmentally destructive project that threatens the self-determination, health, and dignity of sovereign tribes. Additionally, the recent acts of violence, intimidation and desecration of sacred lands perpetrated by the Dakota Access Pipeline’s private security is abhorrent and can not be tolerated.
Our communities who live on the fenceline of dangerous and polluting refineries, like the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA, are recipients of Bakken crude oil, and we know firsthand all the different ways the contents of this pipeline are destroying our health. Oil pipelines break, spill and leak oil; oil that has been treated with chemicals that are flammable, toxic and carcinogenic. It is not a question of if; it’s a question of when and where.
As communities displaced first from our homelands by U.S. military and imperial forces, we also know it is these same forces that displace Sovereign Indigenous Nations, that privatize and pollute the land, water and air for profit. We will not stand aside and allow corporate greed to continue to extract, displace, and exploit our homes or our families.
As an environmental justice organization, APEN also recognizes the connection between this oil extraction project and the disproportionate impact of climate change on communities of color and poor communities who are being hit first and worse as climate change intensifies around the world. We see our brothers and sisters in Louisiana losing their homes, lives and livelihoods, entire neighborhoods underwater due to a “once in 500 years” storm that is becoming the new normal. Wildfires still burn across the Western region as California remains in unprecedented and historic drought causing economic devastation and worsening air quality in the already polluted Central Valley. The climate crisis, caused by this extractive economy, has many fronts but people like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Water Protectors are fighting back.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers have not followed the law and properly assessed the impact an oil spill will have on the Tribe. The Tribes have not been properly consulted on the cultural and environmental impacts to include a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. This is despite the fact that in April of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency, The Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all wrote formal letters to the Army Corp of Engineers requesting a full EIS.
In addition to moving the route away from the more affluent and white neighborhoods of Bismarck and instead towards the tribal lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers improperly used a permitting process that allowed the agency to skip environmental review and public participation as required by federal law. This process, Nationwide Permit 12, is intended for small projects, like boat ramps and mooring buoys, not oil pipelines. This is an outrageous and flagrant application of a regulation that will result in dangerous and destructive cultural, natural resource, farmland and health and toxic outcomes that will be irreparable. A full environmental impact is what is required by law and is required to protect the welfare of the Tribe.
APEN works towards a future where all people can live, work, play, and thrive in a healthy, clean and safe environment. DAPL will prevent this future from being realized and will continue to divide and damage our communities. APEN joins the call for the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under Lake Oahe. We join the call to protect these lands for generations to come.