Oct 27, 2016 - Clinton Continues to Remain Silent on the Dakota Access Pipeline: Water Protectors Question, Is She With Us by Matt Remle

In the run up to the Iowa caucuses, Senator Bernie Sanders came out in full opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline [also referred to as the Bakken pipeline]. His comments came as the Iowa Utilities Board prepared a series of hearings regarding the permitting of the pipeline.

I’m opposed to the construction of the Bakken crude oil pipeline because as a nation, our job is to break our addiction to fossil fuels, and not increase our dependence on oil, coal, and other carbon pollution sources. The major global crisis facing our planet today is climate change. The vast majority of scientists tell us that climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is already causing devastating problems. They say that if we do not aggressively transition our energy system away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy, the planet we leave our children will be a much less habitable place.” -Sen. Sanders

He pushed for Hillary Clinton to take a stance on the pipeline and she refused. Nearly a year later, and now the Democratic nominee for President, she has continued to remain silent on the pipeline despite a global movement of support that has erupted in effort to stop the pipeline.

One of Clinton’s social media hashtags is #ImWithHer, but her silence surrounding the Dakota Access pipeline has many wondering #IsSheWithUs

Hillary’s silence on the Dakota Access pipeline is problematic on several fronts in that the construction of the Dakota access pipeline has broad implications on what a Clinton Presidency may look like.

Treaty rights and tribal sovereignty

The federal government has lacked sorely in engaging with Tribe’s when it comes to consultation on energy projects. They have typically bypassed and neglected to follow their own federal laws, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act being one, and broken Treaty rights, which are agreements bound under the Constitution and International law between Tribal Nations and the U.S. Government.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has repeatedly blasted the federal government and its departments for not engaging with them in proper consultation around the Dakota Access pipeline. Will a Clinton Presidency continue to disregard Tribe’s treaty rights and not engage in consultation with them? We don’t know, because she remains silent.

Also of major concern for Tribe’s, is also the destruction of sacred sites, cultural and historic sites, and burial grounds. This pipeline has already destroyed several burial sites, as well as, sites of cultural and historical significance.

Climate change

As so eloquently stated by Sen. Sanders prior to the Iowa caucus we must move away from reliance on fossil fuels. The proposed pipeline will carry over a half-million barrels of Bakken crude daily, which is extracted through the harmful and destructive practice of fracking all of which will contribute to climate change.

Climate change is real, the debate is over. Recently, the Isle de Jean Charles band of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe was dubbed the first climate change refugees as they have seen 98% of their homelands disappear from the rising waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

By not addressing the Dakota Access pipeline, Clinton gives a strong signal to energy and oil companies that they will have her support.

Impacts from oil spills and water

All pipelines leak and in North Dakota alone, the epicenter of the fracking boom, between 2012-2014 they recorded over 300 oil pipeline spills and 750 “oil-field” incidents.

The Dakota access pipeline is set to cross both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The Missouri river alone provides drinking water for nearly 10-million people. You would think that a candidate who was out spoken on the Flint water crisis would want to prevent any future water crises from happening.

Human rights violations and the police state

In August, the state of North Dakota declared a State of Emergency effectively turning the state into a police state. In addition to mass arrests, the state has erected a check point and blockade leading into the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. On October 26th, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was visiting in support of Standing Rock, was halted at a road block and rerouted.

The Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] has issued a no-fly zone over the Dakota Access pipeline water protectors sites. The FAA states the “no fly zone” has a 7-mile radius and will be in effect until November 4th.

On October 23rd, local law enforcement shot down a drone over the camps. The FAA-registered drone pilot have been on-site to document the actions against the pipeline.

While, Democracy Now’s reporter Amy Goodman was cleared of “riot” charges, it remains highly problematic that the state of North Dakota issued a warrant for her arrest in the first place due to her broadcasting the Private Securities use of dogs against water protectors. Freedom of the press?

While I am not naive in thinking that Donald Trump would be better on these issues than Clinton, he is also not trying to court votes from Native’s or others concerned over these issues either.

Global support has poured in to stop this pipeline and Hillary Clinton needs to take a position now. Hillary, where do you stand? Are you with us?

by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)

Last Real Indians