‘Our Water Is Our Single Last Property’

The most consistent argument made by North Dakota regulators and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline against the protest actions of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies is that the Tribe entered the pipeline approval process too late.  They should have made their feelings known earlier in the process.

In mid-November, just a couple weeks ago, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) CEO Kelcy Warren told reporters “I really wish, for the Standing Rock Sioux, that they had engaged in discussions way before they did. I don’t think we would have been having this discussion if they did. We could have changed the route. It could have been done, but it’s too late.”

Well, let’s see now.

A recently released tape recording of a meeting between the Standing Rock Tribal Council and ETP representatives reveals the Tribe went on record opposed to the pipeline crossing as early as 2012, and told the company, unequivocally, in September of 2014, more than two years ago, that they opposed the pipeline’s proposed crossing of the Missouri River near their reservation boundary. Told the company face to face.

On September 30, 2014, ETP Vice President for Engineering Chuck Frey, and Tammy Ibach, with a local public relations firm representing ETP, met with the tribe to “detail the project and answer questions,” in Frey’s words.

Ibach, who, led off the presentation after introductions with the words “We brought lunch,” told the Tribal Council members the pipeline was going to be routed 1,500 feet north of the Standing Rock Reservation boundary.

To which Standing Rock Tribal chairman Chairman Dave Archambault II replied “We recognize our treaty boundaries from 1851 and 1868, and because of that we oppose the pipeline. We have a standing resolution passed in 2012 that opposes the pipeline within that treaty boundary. This is something that the tribe is not supporting. We’ll listen to your presentation and then ask our Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to help remind your company of the federal laws that include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.”

That’s how the meeting started. Archambault could not have been more clear. “We oppose the pipeline.” Warren’s statement this month, more than two years later, was totally disingenuous. And no one in the media, that I can find, called him on it.

The Tribal Council, at that September 30, 2014 meeting, listened to Frey for about 15 minutes and heard him say “2,500 feet is the closest we will come to the current tribal boundary.” As opposed to Ibach’s statement a few minutes earlier that the distance was 1,500 feet. No matter. The tribe insisted for much of an hour, with a tape recorder running, that they would oppose the pipeline at that location. If you want, you can go listen to the meeting by clicking here.

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Waste Win Young told the company reps that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) allows the Tribe to assign historic significance to areas threatened by development regardless of whether projects are on tribal land or not. She acknowledged that the proposed route was already home to the Northern Border Pipeline, but the Northern Border Pipeline was built in 1981. It was not until 1992, when amendments to the NHPA were approved, that the tribes were given the right to consult on these projects. The Tribe had no legal say in that pipeline route. I wasn’t aware that Section 106 applies to land off the reservation, but Young says it does, and she’s the Tribe’s Historic Preservation Officer, so I have to assume she knows what she’s talking about.

So I’d have to guess that statements by regulators and the pipeline company that the tribe never offered any complaints about the Northern Border Pipeline are also disingenuous—the tribe says it was never consulted because the pipeline builders were not required to do that at that time.

In the September 30, 2014 meeting, the Tribal Council was polite but firm in their conviction that they would oppose the pipeline. But Young also said the tribe would ask they be consulted on the route, “because we know where our significant sites are.” Young said “This is on treaty land. If we know your route, we can help you identify important sites.”

Remember, this was two years ago, and more than a full year before construction of the pipeline started.

Young also said she believed the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would cross the Missouri River directly under a village site. Young continued, “There is an island that gets exposed when the Oahe Reservoir level drops. That island is part of a larger village that is presently inundated. There are human remains, artifacts, pottery shells, and tools throughout the entire channel. Across the Missouri River on the eastern shore there are Dakota camps.”

Young went on to explain the historical significance of the area on the east side of the Missouri as well.

She concluded her presentation saying “For us to officially endorse or accept a proposal that would negatively impact our cultural sites, our prayer sites, our duties and responsibilities as stewards of the land, would be unacceptable, and goes against the very interest of our office in identifying and preserving what we have left here for our people, our children. Thank you for coming, but the risks are too great for our children.”

A discussion followed between Tribal Council members and the company’s representatives about new and existing cultural resources surveys. Would the Tribe be allowed to participate in the company’s surveys? Frey replied that he didn’t know but would get back to the Council. “We’ve gotten the public information the state has and we’re trying to overlay that with our maps and have that shown as points to avoid,” Frey said.  “Would the tribe share its knowledge with us? Do you have maps?”

Frey was told that the tribe “doesn’t put that out publicly, but would share it privately.”  He told the Council the company would be willing to re-route the pipeline if the contractors come in contact with some artifacts.

Tribal Council member Avis Little Eagle told the group that earlier in the week, the Standing Rock Tribal Water Contract Board had passed a resolution to oppose the pipeline.

Little Eagle said the Tribe monitors the waters on the reservation, and has intakes on the river for water for Tribal consumption. She said a major concern of her board was contamination of the water.

“They all leak, no matter what, every oil pipeline leaks, and we’re going to end up contaminating our water,” Little Eagle told the company’s representatives.

At the conclusion of Little Eagle’s remarks, Chairman Archambault pointed out that the Tribal Council already had passed a resolution opposing it. Remember, this is 2014.

Tribal elder Phyllis Young concluded the meeting. Here are her remarks.

“We have survived incredible odds. You must know that we are Sitting Bull’s people. You must know who we are. And we sit on a previous military fort, and we have survived that. And we have rebuilt on what was taken from us.  We survived Wounded Knee, a massacre. We are survivors. We are fighters. And we are protectors of our land.

“We realize we are in a national sacrifice area. We have always been. The Black Hills are part of our territory.  National sacrifice so America could take the largest gold mine and take all the gold from our people. We have about five billion dollars in the (national) treasury that we did not take for payment of that gold. We’re a national sacrifice area.

“We were the number one military zone. They nationalized our airspace to protect our country. And in my lifetime, a national sacrifice area to build the dams so that there could be hydropower and revenue in the national interest for this country. And taking my home, flooding it, in the middle of a cold winter, I know what it is to be homeless, I know what it is to be hungry in this great land of plenty, where we lived in the richest riverbed in the world.

“So it’s nothing for you to come and say you want to do this, we want to be friends with you. But in Section 106, what the National Historic Preservation Office has addressed is ancestral territory. It was very astute for you to go around the northern boundary of Standing Rock as we see it in modern times. But this is treaty territory. Those are ancestral lands. So you are bound by Section 106, by the laws of this country, to adhere to those laws that are federal laws for the protection of our people.

“We are not stupid people, we are not ignorant people. Do not underestimate the people of Standing Rock. We know what’s going on, and we know what belongs to us, and we know what we have to keep for our children and our grandchildren. In statute we are also keepers of the river to the east bank. That’s statutory. And the Army corps of Engineers, in all their underhandedness, and their control, they think they have of this river–this is our territory.

“You mentioned nothing about the water. You don’t want to infringe on Native lands, but our water is our single last property that we have for our people, and water is life. Mni Wiconi.

“How do you separate it? How are you going to separate the oil from the water when it’s contaminated? How are you going to do that? Only the creator can do that. Maybe in your higher technology you think you can. But this is our property, this is our homeland. And we will do whatever we have to do to stop this pipeline.

“We will put on our best warriors in the front. We are the vanguard. We are Hunkpapa Lakota. That means the horn of the buffalo. That’s who we are. We are the protectors of our nation. The Seven Council Fires. Know who we are.

“We will put forward our young people, our young warriors, who understand the weasel words, now, of the English language, who know that one word can mean seven things. We understand the forked tongue that our grandfathers talked about. We know about talking out of both sides of your mouth, smiling with one side of your face. We know all the tricks of the wasichu world. Our young people have mastered it. I have mastered your language. I can speak eloquently in the English language my grandmother taught me. I also have the collective memory of the damages that have occurred to my people. And I will never submit to any pipeline to go through my homeland.”

And the meeting ended. I don’t know whether they ate Tammy’s lunch or not.

55 thoughts on “‘Our Water Is Our Single Last Property’

    1. But probably not correct about the extent of federal jurisdiction over the project (i.e. the “undertaking” and “area of potential effect” issues). The tribe’s attorney had great difficulty articulating a coherent theory at the hearing on the motion for injunction pending appeal, whereas the USACOE had good authority supporting its position.

      (It’s worth an hour and a half to listen to the audio of the hearing, which can be found at https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/recordings/recordings.nsf/DocsByRDate?SearchView&Query=standing+rock&Start=1&Count=10&SearchOrder=1&SearchWV=TRUE ;also to read the USACOE brief in opposition to the tribe’s motion for preliminary injunction, which lays out the relevant legal authorities.)

      In the court proceedings it also didn’t help that the tribe’s archaeologist (Mentz) identified a supposed cultural site (Chante Tinza Wapaha [Strong Heart Society Staff]) that was located directly above (and bisected by) the existing natural gas pipeline. This was very damaging to Mentz’s (and by extension the tribe’s) credibility. Both the facts and law appear to be on DAPL/USACOE’s side in the litigation.


  1. The Tribe is wrong. The pipeline should be completed and will be completed. Regardless of what was stated, the Sioux had their chance on many, many occasions to engage in the permitting process through public hearings, etc. Now, they are engaged in criminal activity and making false statements about good people.


      1. All of the necessary federal permits for the Lake Oahe crossing have been issued/verified. The only thing left is a real estate “right of way” (Mineral Leasing Act); the USACOE is holding that up.


  2. How many times do they need to say NO!?!
    The proposed pipeline is requested for dubious benefits for the public:
    1 – safety — we’re trading one set of risks for another, possibly worse, sets of risks with longer term impacts
    2 – energy independence — as long as OPEC colludes towards oil output levels, we’ll never have control of oil prices, it’s a global commodity.
    3 – job creation — as a displacement technology, oil transported through the pipeline will displace workers who are currently transporting the product, we’ll see a decrease in the number of jobs affected, not only the transportation sectors but others who serve them meals, sell them products/services, etc.


    1. Why do we want jobs for truck drivers or railroads when that mode of transportation is more dangerous to the environment and human life?

      Safety? The obvious choice is a pipeline, not trucks or rail.

      Energy independence? OPEC has limited power. If we can’t produce our own oil, then we are dependent on oil from Canada, Russia and middle East countries. Sure, we can buy some oil from OPEC but Canada is preferable as they are an ally.

      The Pony Express no longer exists because it was displaced by the telegraph, Western Union, the telephone, the Internet, etc. Now we have FedEx and UPS eating in to the US Mail.

      More efficient forms of transporting oil will displace jobs. But it will also save our roads which will have to be replaced more often due to the weight of the trucks on our highways.

      Perhaps you long for the day of the Pony Express. I’d rather send an email to someone 2000 miles away that gets there in seconds rather than weeks.

      I’m for progress.


      1. Oil is not progress. Clean energy is progress. Energy that does not poison the Earth is progress. The sun and the wind are at our disposal…these things are free! Oil is for one purpose only, profit. We have already reached the point of no return and the Earth is dying now for this profit, and it’s beyond time that we evolve as human beings beyond the selfish, self-absorbed, wasteful for profit only oil industry. Research what happens from these pipelines and see how your own life will be affected, not if, but when. (Former oil workers predict 18 months.) They are NOT safe. The oil industry stems from a hundreds of years old love of profit; it is NOT progress. We most certainly do NOT need to depend on oil from anywhere because they have invented windmills, solar panels, and cars that you can plug in to a charger! There are entire countries now being powered by solar energy! I’m sorry, I just cannot fathom how you can consider this progress.


      2. I’d like to see how you’re going to manufacture solar panels and wind towers without having oil/gas/coal making electricity.


      3. Of course! I don’t understand why others don’t understand this. Our movement towards alternatives to fossil fuels is a must. There will be growing pains during transitions to new technology but that is how progress works.
        We have dug ourselves into a big hole by contaminating our environment in trade for a dependence on fossil fuels. It is a destructive cycle unless we make big moves to stop it and start digging ourselves out of this hole.


    2. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are but one small voice in the entire process. The pipeline goes through 4 States and covers hundreds of miles and never crosses land owned by the Sioux. It has been re-routed over a hundred times due to those who actually engaged in the legal process of hearings and discussions.

      Their arguments now go back to broken treaties (alleged) which they can litigate but they will not win.

      In the end, the eco-terrorists have taken over this activity. Their mission is to stop any sort of fossil fuel energy. They will use a multitude of illegal means to achieve their ends, even if ends up in personal injury, the loss of legal education to minors in their camp and the acrimony created between the Native Americans and the rest of the State. By the way, the ‘rest of the State’ consists of Whites, Natives, Blacks, Asian and a whole host of other people.

      Perhaps one can listen to this Native South Dakotan explain her support of the DAPL – http://www.theblaze.com/video/protests-against-the-dakota-access-pipeline-spread-beyond-north-dakota/


      1. But they did participate, they said no long before the first public hearing, there was no need for them to attend, there answer was clear.

        I’m not so certain you are correct that they’ll lose, if Section 106 is in play to the extent they contend I like their odds of prevailing in court. Let’s hope nobody dies between now and then.


      2. MR Noah This same pipeline also runs through Iowa & people there are also opposed to it running through their state also. & you obviously do not keep up with the number of pipelines that are breaking through out the Country. Where i live in WI we have a gas pipeline that broke with in 3 yrs after being completed so don’t hand me your malarkey of how safe they supposedly are This particular pipeline DAPL is carrying fracked tar sans crude which is highly corrosive & lord alone only know the chemical stew used in the fracking compound as the fracking companies do not release that information So God & they only know what kinds of hazardous chemicals they contain .


      3. Thank you, for pointing out that Iowa farmers and Indigenous people in that state are also fighting against DAPL. Eminent domain* was used in Iowa to force the pipeline across 18 prime farming counties. Those landowners who refused to ‘sign off’ on Energy Transfer Partners ‘agreements’ had their trees cut, cropland bulldozed, drainage tile systems ripped up, topsoil and subsoil mixed, and waterways carelessly crossed with little or no compensation One farmer was arrested for attempting to defend her family’s farm. If this is progress, I wonder at what the future holds for all of us. Strange that information from other states suffering from corporate takeover of private property along with other civil rights abuses never seems to reach our attention.

        * “Eminent domain is the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use.” Tar sands & bakken crude will be piped to ports where it will be shipped to Foreign Markets for profit. Remember, crude oil has now been approved by Congress for shipment abroad!

        How, exactly, will this pipeline be “for public use”?


  3. Great local perspective Jim, esp. for those of us former North Dakotans watching this, sadly, from around the rest of the country.


  4. oooooo, ‘theblaze’ — {quakes in awe…}
    True ‘progress’ would be to rid ourselves of using this toxic substance and invest in other energy producing technologies to create jobs for a sustainable future. True ‘progress’ would keep this toxic substance from flowing underground unseen where breaks can occur without warning, where detection systems fail. How many 1200 mile long pipelines exist now that are gushing half a million barrels a day? Safety in this context is subjective.


  5. So because it happens over and over, we should allow it to continue? I think not. I think the Oil Companies are wrong. They should not build the pipeline. Regardless of what the oil company representatives have said, they have not actually ever received approval from the tribe. And they knew that early on. We should as a nation, initiate a movement to stop this now — there are alternative sources, and people have both discovered and offered them. Ask yourself where are they now? Why are they not available? Why are we advancing in technology and yet we are behind in alternative fuels? Are there risks from the pipelines? Yes (” compressor stations are said to emit at least two dozen toxic chemicals into the air, including formaldehyde, benzene, nitrogen oxide, butane and propane. Health impacts linked to compressor stations include visual impairment, respiratory impacts, severe headaches, decreased motor skills, irregular heartbeat, skin rashes, dizziness, and allergic reactions, among others.”
    http://www.courant.com/community/rnw-rop-pipeline-expansion-0101-20141222-story.html) — and if you look at a map, you will be able to see that pretty soon, the whole country will be covered in pipelines — and for the future of our children, that is definitely not a good thing.


    1. Thank you for the information I was not aware of the side effects mentioned. I am against the pipeline and I support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Water Protectors.


  6. The 1868 treaty gives the right to build the pipeline. They could have built it on tribal land if they wanted. If any bones or artifacts were found the odds are a lot higher that they would be Mandan or Arikara than Sioux. As for the Black Hills the Sioux never even saw them until the later part of the 18th century.


  7. Thanks for posting, pretty clear cut that they didn’t want anything to do with it. Move the pipeline right through Bismarck and the capital grounds. Make it a tourist attraction and people can see what actually runs this state and it’s dirty politicians.


  8. It’s disillusioning to learn that authorities have not been giving an honest account of the history of this project. I think the pipeline route was chosen in part as the place of perceived least power, least resistance. Yet we have long known that dangerous infrastructure has been deliberately hidden in low income communities across the nation. What we need is safer infrastructure. That includes removing volatile gasses from crude transported by rail, and not the small reduction recently implemented as a face saving measure. It’s also crucial that we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. There are many measures we can take individually and together as consumers.


  9. They argue it’s their land but according to Laramie Treaty they respect, Article 11 Section 6 “….cannot interfere with the building of railroads and utilities.” So how does this relate to them saying “no we aren’t accepting the pipe”.

    “Article 11 Section 6th. They withdraw all pretence of opposition to the construction of the railroad now being built along the Platte River and westward to the Pacific Ocean, and they will not in future object to the construction of railroads, wagon-roads, mail-stations, or other works of utility or necessity, which may be ordered or permitted by the laws of the United States. But should such roads or other works be constructed on the lands of their reservation, the Government will pay the tribe whatever amount of damage may be assessed by three disinterested commissioners to be appointed by the President for that purpose, one of said commissioners to be a chief or head-man of the tribe.”

    BEFORE the tribal council meeting on Sept 30, 2014, the Army Corp reviewed areas of concern that were indicated by tribal historian and then put it in a report commenting that the areas of concern were not in line with construction. The conclusion was the need for further discussion and STanding Rock would legally be responsible for pointing these areas out. ( I can’t find the lengthy page document that shared this info but here is one piece of information).

    According to this document, “The Army invites the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to engage in discussion regarding potential conditions on an easement for the pipeline crossing that would reduce the risk of a spill or rupture, hasten detection and response to any possible spill, or otherwise enhance the protection of Lake Oahe and the Tribe’s water supplies. The Army invites discussion of the risk of a spill in light of such conditions, and whether to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe at the proposed location. The Army continues to welcome any input that the Tribe believes is relevant to the proposed pipeline crossing or the granting of an easement. ”

    Attached is a google spreadsheet prepared by someone who went through alot of work to summarize all the court documents. My interpretation was that there were numerous requests to meet and failure for tribal historian to followup as well as “bust” meetings because she was not “available”. She also took a leave of absence the summer of 2015. When she did respond her response was her wanting adherence to Section 106. Finally in 2015 she did acknowledge they wanted to work with the Army Corp only previously telling them there was no need to meet because they were working directly with ETC.

    In Feb 2015 “The letter explained most of the work would occur upland, in areas that weren’t under the Corps control, though there were crossings of rivers (Missouri, James, Big Sioux, Des Moines, Mississippi, and Illinois) they’d have to permit. The letter noted Dakota Access was doing cultural surveys along the whole route. The Corps asked the Tribe if they had any concerns about such cultural issues, and if they wanted to consult on the project. The Corps asked for an answer by March 30, 2015. They also included Dakota Access proposal information as well as contact information for various Corps ”
    After this letter, the historian finally sent a letter indicating they would like to be involved in the consultation process.
    August 2015- informed about horizontal drilling of lake Oahe
    Sept 2015- Then tribal historian said it wasn’t in their best interest to be present at the Lake Oahe review until Army corp met with government. Then she said she felt she was never part of the consultation process (interestingly she never returned calls to schedule meetings prior to that)
    October 2015: The Tribe also cancels, on the same day, a future meeting with Colonel Henderson, promising to meet with him in a “few months.” The Corps documented ten different attempts to contact the Tribe to talk about the pipeline over the month of October. In November, the Corps twice invites the Tribe to attend a general tribal meeting in Sioux Falls, SD. The invitation contained links to Dakota Access cultural surveys.
    GOOGLE SPREADSHEET REVIEW OF COURT DOCUMENTS: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bKBWD8yEq3sw82_SOXxtjAEM9-wm2Yj99CnZBUtMx2M/htmlview#gid=0

    In September 2016, US Dept of Justice released this statement: “We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106). However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.

    In addition to this one one of the factors that expedited this entire pipeline process could be linked to Obama’s Executive Order 13604 which encourages the expediting of infrastructure projects. The Army Corp found they could do this with Permit 12 which breaks pipelines up into sections for analysis.


    1. Serna this pipeline is not really necessary & furthermore No single drop of oil produced flowing through the pipelines now in place stays in the USA all of it is exported & we import that same amount back Does that make sense to you??
      We have wells sitting around no that are Capped Yet oil companies keep drilling more wells in sensitive areas & this particular pipe line would carry the most toxic Corrosive type of oil in existence Frack Balkan tar sands Crude oil. Do you know what kind of toxic chemicals are being used in the fracking compounds?? No one but the companies making the stuff & God do


  10. At the end of the day, they do not want this pipeline’s eventual oil leaks to contaminate their drinking water. That should be reason enough to justify their stance. We can go back and forth all day and all night for days, but who doesn’t want clean drinking water today, tomorrow, and in the future? Geez!


  11. Cut off the supply of fuel oil, LPG, and natural gas from the reservation; stop supplying their gas station so they are forced to walk or ride a bike. Sometimes people need to have a taste of their own medicine.


    1. Charming!

      I had an exchange at the store in town in the same vein as your comment, DRight. I was told, “That water doesn’t just belong to the Indians. That water belongs to everybody!” My response was, “You are absolutely right! So we can ALL drink oil when the water becomes contaminated.”

      The sad irony here is that Emmons County rural water is drawn out of the Missouri River just a few miles downstream from where the pipeline is intended to cross. The ND Department of Health Water Source Protection Area for South Central North Dakota-Emmons Rural Water was NOT brought to the table in the permitting process. That Source Water Protection Area actually extends 2 1/2 miles north of the Cannonball River. Wonder why that wasn’t a consideration in protecting the health of Emmons County or Standing Rock people? I guess a hardscrabble farming community is every bit as dispensable as Indians to those who have the power to twist an agenda in their particular favor.

      Even an irascible farmer with an axe to grind about “Indians” is being summarily diddled by the Big Boys. Equality, I guess.


  12. Larry- I’m not pro-pipeline. I think the pipeline is unnecessary as well. You made an assumption about me when just because I created a post with information and not emotion that I must feel the pipeline is ok.

    In fact the family and friends I have in North Dakota that I’ve been talking with ALSO are NOT pro- pipeline.

    Also, I’m a holistic practitioner and have been talking almost 15 years about the deleterious effects of petroleum compounds on a chemical level on the human body.

    I am looking at this situation and what the hell happened. Who messed up? Why did it even get this far? Accountability.

    The point of my post was to take a look at how communications on this were handled by the natives which, in my opinion, poorly but that is up to the reader to decide but I also shared that we have a process that becomes facilitated by an Executive Order.

    Here is what I’m tired of. All the emotional posting. I find it interesting people’s facial reaction when I say there is going to be a water treatment 70 miles away and then the say “oh, I didn’t know that”…..as if they thought they were getting their water from a well or walking down to the river. Does anyone even know the effect of xenoestrogens on animals and humans. No. Nobody talks about this though. Not everyone reacts out of fear. Not everyone is sensitive to ethical rights when they know there are already 8 other pipelines under the river. Some people want to hear scientific details or financial logic. Start talking about how unnecessary this really is and WHY.

    So…nobody talks about toxins. Noone talks about how apparently the railroad made expensive improvements. Noone talks about where the water is going (although I knew this because I actually research). Noone talks about communicating effectively. But EVERYONE wants their cell phones and laptops from China.

    Communication: When you question someone “Do you get it? Does it make sense?” , depending on the person and the inability to hear tone, this is not a good communication tactic. It puts people on the defense because you are basically questioning their intelligence. Unnecessary.

    When we ask a question, perhaps its rhetorical but we should answer the question we ask. So now people reading either could have become educated in that moment or, if motivated enough, will go research or maybe not.

    Petroleum compounds are most detrimental on a microscopic level in our body because they mimic estrogen in a 16 hydroxy form and we call these xenoestrogens. Plastics, pesticides, petroleum skin products, water— they stimulate cells to grow which can induce breast and prostate cancer but also lend to a multitude of hormonal dysfunctions, bombards liver, then gallbladder issues and it goes on


  13. Hats off to whoever put the Google sheet together. I haven’t reviewed the whole sheet yet in detail, but I did notice that the 5/14/14 entry repeats the error made by Snopes as quoted in the Notes section, which is that the USACOE considered and rejected the Bismarck route early in the route planning process. Not true; the USACOE did not become formally involved until DAPL submitted its pre-construction notification packet later that year. I still need to verify it conclusively, but by that time the route had already been changed, by DAPL not USACOE, so that the pipeline would cross the Missouri at Lake Oahe instead of north of Bismarck. A “public interest” evaluation of the Bismarck route was done by USACOE in the course of its duties, but the route planning process had already been completed by then. The district court’s order denying the tribe’s motion for preliminary injunction (at page 15-16) clarifies the chronology a bit.


  14. Know your audience when trying to convince.

    Politicians listen to money and jobs.

    Obama could probably stop this. Can the ND Governor stop this? How do you influence them?

    Senator Udall (NM) just gave a message saying the natives have taken a backseat for far too long but Obama knows how ND stands to profit as well as he has profited from oil.

    Americans needs to talk about statistics and data. I heard the railway would employ more people than this pipeline. The pipeline will only employ 40 full time people.
    What is the money income and costs for ND in comparing the railway versus the pipeline?
    Was the oil transportation via railway really backing up hauling grain in SD?
    Does ND need a refinery? Benefits? Consequences?

    Obama is tied to big oil. He has received more PAC money and campaign money from Exxon and Mobil etc than McCain ever did. Also, interestingly, back in the Gulf spill, a couple weeks prior Vanguard Windsor II sold all of its shares in BP followed by 4 or 5 other companies. Vanguard Windsor II happened to be one of two Vanguard accounts in which Obama had most of his stock. Then 11 days BEFORE the spill, Goldman Sachs paid 2 million to an oil clean up company.

    Trump is in the hot seat next. You get to Trump by talking jobs, business and money. More jobs means more people spending and more people paying taxes. Trump wants us to be using our own resources for us but he will appreciate selling oil to China. What is the benefit and downfall of selling our oil to China?

    You can’t appease everyone by just talking about minority rights and environment.

    Calling representatives is far more effective than emailing.


  15. Harold- thank you. I didn’t put it together but a friend in Bismark doing research found the Google document. Can you explain more what was right or wrong involving how that all played out? What I’m hearing is DAPL did not give USAOCE much time to review.

    Going north of Bismark certainly would have probably eliminated all of this human havoc. What are the chances activists would be in ND if it was going north? However everything has a reason and perhaps this is what needed to happen to bring awareness. So in the end everything happened exactly as it should- God’s plan.


    1. Hello Serena,

      The regulatory scheme here is insanely complicated so it’s difficult to provide a simple explanation what exactly was under review and how long it took.

      The first thing is to identify precisely what was under review by USACOE. There is a FAQ on the Omaha District website that lists the specific actions the USACOE was requested to take, this is as good a starting point as any:


      In addition to these, the Mineral Leasing Act comes into play (this is the disputed “easement” that the USACOE has not yet issued).

      All of these actions implicate Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act (consultation with tribes). To complicate things further, different agencies have different (and arguably conflicting) implementing regulations for Section 106.

      Anyway, you could isolate each of the permitting decisions and the statutory and regulatory requirements to evaluate what the USACOE needed to do and how long it needed to do it.

      However, in making these permitting decisions, tribal consultations, etc., USAOCE was not operating under any deadline imposed by DAPL, so it cannot be said that “DAPL did not give USAOCE much time to review” because USACOE was operating under its own deadline(s), not DAPL’s. It was DAPL that had to wait for USACOE (as it is now waiting for USACOE’s decision on the easement). USACOE had as much time as it needed to complete the review process.

      The big picture chronology is that the permit review process and related tribal consultation process began in the fall of 2014, and was not completed until almost two years later, in the summer of 2016.


      1. Harold- so was DAPL taking a chance to start all that building if they didn’t have the easement approved and did the USACE “forget” to provide a congressional notification up until now? Why is it now that this Mineral Leasing Act is an issue this far into construction? If Pres Obama hadn’t halted construction would the Mineral Leasing Act provision to get congressional notification- would this have been ignored? Was this not found in the court case?

        From the link you provided above: On July 25, 2016, the Omaha, Rock Island, and St. Louis Districts verified 200 crossings of jurisdictional waters of the United States under Nationwide Permit #12, and the Omaha and Rock Island District commanders approved three (3) Section 408 permissions. One Omaha District permission requires the District to grant an easement for the DAPL project to be placed under Lake Oahe by HDD. The Mineral Leasing Act requires the Corps to provide congressional notification before it may grant the easement. The Districts may not execute outgrants for the Section 408 permission locations until USACE has provided congressional notification.


  16. There are cultural/historical areas in Emmons County that appear to have been ‘overlooked’ in the review process, as well. I was in attendance at the April 29, 2016 meeting with Col. Henderson and the Tribes at Grande River. It was very clear to everyone there that the USACE permit was still on hold.
    However, by early May, a farmer’s field on Hwy 83 just south of Linton became the staging area – on an epic scale – for pipeline construction equipment. Scores of workers from all over the US were already housed in temporary man-camps and local motels. Although USACE permission had yet to be granted, pipeline construction began in earnest by mid-May in the southern part of Emmons County. The entire pipeline in Emmons County was all but complete prior to USACE permission to proceed in mid-summer. Curiously, Energy Transfer Partners prioritized the east bank (Emmons County) of the Missouri River where the final connection will emerge from 100 feet beneath the riverbed. That area in Emmons County has now been cordoned off with razor wire and additional ‘security’. Still….no final permit?
    There has been no mention of the Dakota War Chief, Waneta who lived along Beaver Creek, Emmons County, nor the early 1800’s disastrous flood of an Indian encampment directly across from the Cannonball River on the east side of the Missouri. The pipeline runs at a diagonal through the entire watershed of both areas.


    1. “There are cultural/historical areas in Emmons County that appear to have been ‘overlooked’ in the review process, as well.”

      Overlooked by USACOE? Its review was geographically limited, so if the areas in question were outside USACOE jurisdiction, they would not have been overlooked. Of course, the tribe is arguing for more expansive federal jurisdiction, but USACOE/DAPL has been winning that argument rather decisively so far in court.


      1. The Horsehead Valley Flood occurred directly across from Cannonball along the east bank of the Missouri River. Chief Waneta lived in Beaver Creek Valley. Both sites are USACE taken bottom land.
        I live 3 1/2 miles upstream from the Missouri River along Beaver Creek. ALL the bottom land property and much of the wooded ravines originally attached to our property were ‘taken’ for the Oahe Dam. Property with an altitude higher than the 100-year old house we occupy was ‘taken’ by USACE..
        I’m going to say, there should have been a serious review.
        We’ve lived here for nearly 19 years. The Corps does aerial surveillance of the land to make sure NO livestock cross ‘their’ land to drink from Beaver Creek. The State allowed continued water access for livestock using fenced water lanes, but recently those lanes have become Corps ‘rental property’. Corps personnel do NOT walk ‘their’ land in Beaver Valley looking for cultural sites. They ‘fly over’.
        To get on to Corps land on our south side of Beaver Valley, a person has to come down the section road to our farm and then do some pretty rigorous hiking along deep wooded ravines above the creek bottom land. There is no road access – just hundreds of acres of nothing but Corps land taken from the original sections bordering both sides of Beaver Creek – all the way to the Missouri River.


  17. A thought if the pipeline finishes: North Dakota should offer home or faucet filtration rebates or free units. It certainly doesn’t fix connection spiritually to water. Maybe it would be scoffed at.


  18. Great questions, Serena.

    There was pointed questioning by the DC Circuit appellate panel about DAPL’s having taken a risk by building up to (or at least very close to) the Lake Oahe crossing without having secured the federal permits and Mineral Leasing Act right of way, which the DAPL attorney (who is excellent) was largely able to explain/deflect.

    There was also discussion about the easement/right of way. Once the necessary permitting had been secured for the Lake Oahe crossing (following environmental review, tribal consultation, etc.), granting of the right of way by USACOE arguably should have been pro forma, and DAPL advised the court that USACOE had led it to believe that was the case.

    While DAPL had not secured the permits and right of way from USACOE, it had secured all necessary permits from North Dakota PSC for construction on non-federal land (I think that happened in January 2016) so construction was well underway elsewhere. But yes, DAPL assumed risk in the absence of the federal permits and right of way/easement.

    Keep in mind the timing of the NW12 verifications and 408 permissions (July 25, 2016) and the filing of the tribe’s lawsuit (July 27, 2016). The 408 permission would need to precede the granting of the right of way, but litigation tied things up through September 9th when the DC District Court denied the tribe’s motion for preliminary injunction.

    After having successfully argued that it had met all of its obligations under Section 106 with respect to the tribe, USACOE then immediately announced (in the “joint statement) that it was halting construction until it could decide whether to reconsider any of its previous decisions concerning the Lake Oahe crossing.

    Later, on November 14th, USACOE advised DAPL that it was affirming its permitting decisions (NWP 12, 408) but that further discussion was warranted with respect to the easement. DAPL is challenging this with an argument that USACOE has effectively granted the right of way by virtue of its previous permitting decisions. The argument is a bit of a longshot in my opinion, but it’s hard to predict what will happen.


  19. There exists an abundance of arguments that Standing Rock has against the pipeline that are legally sound. What has become apparent to me is the long trail of broken Treaties and promises. As shameful as slavery. I cannot wrap my head around our local (white) societies inability to have any understanding of justice. It is as unAmerican as you can get.

    This action has evolved into far more than the DAPL. It is an outpouring of pent up anger over injustice suffered since the Treaty of 1851. And for other Indians, 500 years of the same. It has boiled over. It is not about anti-fossil fuel beliefs. It is more that the real need to closely look at the integrity of any pipeline. It is the culmination of endless acts of injustice and for whatever reason, white America cannot see it.

    To be a real part of America, these injustices must be addressed. It is the foundation of the very freedoms that we claim make us different than the rest of the world. The massive response to the Native American claims by the government and corporate America is the real issue here. It poses a threat to everything that we claim to hold dear. The abuses of a militarized police perhaps are the most dangerous. Government always uses its power to seek its own ends. Our Constitution gives us the protections against such abuse. If we fail to use our power, the reality of America is not only tarnished but threatens the future for all of us.


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