Background

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been locked in a legal battle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from impacting it’s cultural, water, and natural resources. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,168-mile long crude oil pipeline that will transport nearly 570,000 barrels of oil each day from North Dakota to Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers green-lighted several sections of the process without fully satisfying the National Historic Preservation Act, various environmental statutes, and its trust responsibility to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

This is another chapter in the long history of the federal government granting the construction of potentially hazardous projects near or through tribal lands, waters, and cultural places without including the tribe. The current proposed pipeline route crosses under Lake Oahe, just a half mile up from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

While the Tribe is waiting for a federal court decision on a preliminary injunction to stop the pipeline construction, the pipeline company is waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to grant an easement to drill under Lake Oahe. The Army Corps of Engineers, the White House, and Congress must halt the easement because the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s waters and sacred places must be protected.

What you can do

  1. Call your local Congressional Representative or Senator and 
  2. Email the Chief of Staff and the Assistant Secretary of the Army Corp of Engineers:  

Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff to the President
dmcos@who.eop.gov
(202) 456-3182

Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of Army Corp of Engineers
joellen.darcy@us.army.mil
(703)697-8986

Suggested Email Language

I am writing to you today to voice my opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. I support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other communities in their fight against this dangerous and destructive pipeline. 

Oil pipelines break, spill and leak—it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of where and when. But the Army Corps never took a hard look at the impacts of an oil spill on the Tribe, as the law requires.  Yet a route close to Bismarck was deemed not viable due to the proximity to Bismarck, and the fact that the route crossed through or in close proximity to several wellhead source water protection areas, including areas that contribute water to municipal water supply wells. 

So now, the pipeline would run through land that is sacred to the Tribe. The law requires that sacred places be protected in consultation with the Tribe, but the Corps has not complied with that requirement, either.  

Please don’t rush the Dakota Access Pipeline—the Corps must carefully consider all of the impacts to the Tribe before issuing any approvals.  Do not allow the Army Corps to grant Dakota Access an easement – the Tribe’s sacred lands and resources must be protected. 

UUSC’s Solidarity Support Letter

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20500

Mr. Denis McDonough
The White House
Chief of Staff to the President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
dmcos@who.eop.gov 

Ms. Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC  20310
joellen.darcy@us.army.mil

Dear President Obama,

Dear Mr. McDonough and Assistant Secretary Darcy,

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) submits this letter to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. We stand in solidarity and support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other communities in their fight against this dangerous and destructive pipeline.

Oil pipelines break, spill and leak—it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of where and when.  In fact, a route close to Bismarck was deemed not viable due to its proximity to Bismarck, and the fact that the route crossed through or in close proximity to several wellhead source water protection areas, including areas that contribute water to municipal water supply wells.  Yet despite these real consequences, the Army Corps of Engineers (“Army Corps”) never took a hard look at the impacts of an oil spill on the Tribe, as the law requires.  No explanation has been provided as to why the health of, and protection of water resources on which, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members depend are any less significant or vital as those of the City of Bismarck.

Instead, now the pipeline is set to run through land that is sacred to the Tribe.  Federal law requires that sacred places be protected in consultation with the Tribe, but the Corps has

not complied with that requirement, either.   We ask that the Administration take a step back and slow down its consideration of the Dakota Access Pipeline—the Corps must carefully consider all of the impacts to the Tribe before issuing any approvals.  The Dakota Access pipeline does not have the easement from the Corps of Engineers to cross Lake Oahe. As the trustee to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all tribes, do not grant the final easement until further review of the project is guaranteed.

Your Administration has a responsibility to protect all Indian nations’ water resources and must take action now to ensure the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes rights are recognized and resources are safeguarded for future generations.

Sincerely,

Salote Soqo
Senior Program Leader Environmental Justice & Climate Action