Oil and Water Don’t Mix: Why the ACLU Is Standing Up for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

On December 4, the Army Corps of Engineers did the right thing by refusing to give Energy Transfer Partners permission to build a portion of the nearly 1,200-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The corps’ decision to perform an environmental impact assessment and explore alternative routes for the pipeline fulfilled the U.S.'s treaty obligations with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which vigorously protested the pipeline out of a credible fear that it could rupture and destroy its water supply, as well as acted in accordance with this nation's environmental protection laws. It was a big win for the tribe and its supporters.

But it didn’t last long.

Days after President Trump took office, he issued a memorandum and an executive order asking the corps to expedite its consideration of the company’s application for an easement to start construction. Soon after, the corps withdrew its call for the environmental study, and Energy Transfer Partners began drilling the next day. The reversal was a slap in the face of the tribe and its treaty rights with the United States. Quickly, the Standing Rock Sioux asked the courts to intervene and stop the pipeline so its impact on the environment could be assessed.

The courts are now the Standing Rock Sioux’s last hope to get the pipeline routed around its land.

That’s why this week the ACLU signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief with 34 Indian tribes and other organizations in support of a case filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in federal court against the Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe’s lawsuit seeks to halt further drilling and construction of the pipeline until the corps conducts a proper environmental impact statement consistent with federal statutes, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as the federal government’s responsibility to protect the tribe’s rights and sovereignty under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. 

The federal government has once again betrayed the Standing Rock Sioux.

As outlined in our brief, the pipeline should be halted immediately consistent with the Standing Rock Sioux’s treaty rights as well as to prevent, for good, any chance a pipeline leak or rupture could despoil the tribe’s land and water. Energy Transfer Partners, however, claims that the chance of a rupture in the river is low, but there are three responses to that claim.

First, the chance of a rupture isn’t that low. In July 2015, the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force issued a comprehensive report of pipeline failures. The study found “hundreds” of pipeline ruptures “that have occurred throughout the U.S. pipeline system.”

The report cites many examples of ruptures over the last few years. In May 2015, a pipeline failed off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, releasing 105,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean. A few months earlier, another pipeline spill released 42,000 gallons of oil underneath the Yellowstone River. Two years earlier, a pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, releasing 134,000 gallons. In July 2010, a pipeline break released 840,000 gallons of oil, fouling 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.

Second, the possibility of a rupture — whether low or not — must be considered together with the consequences of a rupture.  Even a “moderate” release of oil into the Missouri River would have profound and devastating consequences, a subject that the company’s press releases ignore.

Lastly, it is fair to ask: Who would suffer the most by a rupture? The immediate victims of a rupture of the pipeline would be the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, now that the pipeline has been moved into their watershed. But the degradation of the water would also impact some 18 million people downstream who depend on water from the Missouri River.

Since 1974, it’s been the ACLU’s national policy to support Native Americans’ right to a tribal land base and its natural resources as well as support tribes who press their treaty rights with the U.S. government. Under treaties the Standing Rock Sioux made with the U.S. government as well as under federal statutes, the tribe has the right to protect its land, its heritage, and its water from contamination by a possible pipeline rupture. The treatment of the Standing Rock Sioux by Energy Transfer Partners and all levels of government compel us to help the tribe as they fight to stop the pipeline construction from proceeding so that a simple environmental impact assessment can be conducted.

The federal government has once again betrayed the Standing Rock Sioux and made a mockery of its obligations to the tribe while jeopardizing the drinking water of over 18 million Americans. We hope our brief helps convince the courts that a great injustice is taking place on federal land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux’s territory and that it should be stopped immediately.

Stephen L. Pevar’s book, “The Rights of Indians and Tribes” (Oxford 2012), is available here.
 

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Jesse

I hope this pipeline crap works out for both your gorgeous people as well as for Mother Earth. I believe the native people are more brighter/smarter than the white man!!(By the way, I have that gorgeous blood running through my veins, also and I'm damn proud of it!) Keep up the good work You gorgeous Native people! I love you all!!

Anonymous

I am against this pipeline because we need to save the fossil fuels. We need to use nuclear/atomic energy (incl. small or minireactors), geothermal, hydroelectric and save the fossil fuels. I agree with you that Native Americans or American Indians deserve = treatment and my view is treat all ethnic groups nicely. I think you know that Native Americans are no different than any other ethnic group.

If you know the Sioux, then they had disputes with other Indian tribes such as Crow and Arikara. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer had Crow and Arikara scouts who allied with Custer against the Sioux, as Sioux had taken Crow and Arikara territory. Of course, Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was going to do what was mainly for the expansion interests such as get land which had metals (gold, iron, etc.) and Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was a fool @ Little Big Horn, but he never asked his soldiers to do anything he wouldn't do himself and he would went to the front line of the Little Big Horn Battle. 1 could say that Custer's Last Stand was an attempt to steal Sioux conquests, in that the territory the Sioux lived on was taken from other Indian tribes-the Crow and Arikara. If not mistaken, Wounded Knee in 1890 was the last battle where the Sioux were defeated. Incidentally, 1 way Indian reservations could make more money is to open brothels (prostitution is legal in Nevada) the same way some reservations have casinos. Many men (White, Black, etc.) would happily want to have sex with American Indian women.

While I don't always agree with American Renaissance in their ethnicity discussions, American Renaissance's Samuel Jared Taylor is right in this https://www.amren.com/videos/2017/02/whites-stole-land-from-the-indians/. Samuel Jared Taylor admits wars were used by Whites to steal American Indian land and Samuel Jared Taylor says that American Indians or Native Americans used wars to steal other Native American land, before the Whites took it from them. Samuel Jared Taylor is right about the 2 standards with regard to stealing land.

With stealing American Indian or Native American territory-is it because wars were used to take land from them or is the main meaning of this that the Whites were better @ being greedy ? When American Indians or Native Americans wanted territory, they used wars to get it from a neighboring tribe. In some cases, American Indian or Native American tribes would kill a neighboring tribes men in a war and then take the women and girls as their wives. Quanah Parker was the last Comanche chief-his mom was kidnapped when she was 9 years old and forced to become a Comanche chief's wife.

I’ve found with Native Americans or American Indians is that many times when they talk of ‘stolen land’ what they imply is ‘you did what I wanted to do.’ There was greed & arrogance on both the Whites & Native American sides. Yes, this nations treatment of American Indians was arrogant & wars were used to take land from American Indians. Truth about greed is that Whites were just better in greed. People are just potentially greedy. If American Indian tribes (esp. tribes like the Sioux, Comanches, Apaches, Aztecs, etc.) had better weapons & capabilities, they would have been conquering other places in the world & imposing their laws on others. Whites ( I’m not White) had better military capability or capacity, but when it comes to thinking, they’re the same. People are the same everywhere-Whites, Blacks, American Indians, etc. That doesn’t excuse fact this nation’s treatment of American Indians was arrogant but when you have the view of ‘you did what I wanted to do’ then you’re no better than what you say to be against.

Anonymous

1 thing people sometimes say when discussions arise about how Indians stole territory from other Indians before Whites stole the territory from the Indians is that the Indians fought a fair fight, such as the Sioux used = weapons as the Crow and Arikara tribes had and the Sioux won their territories from those tribes by even combat, while the Whites didn't fight fairly.

People esp. Native Americans or American Indians talk about how Sioux, Comanches and other tribes who got their territories from neighboring tribes used fair fight (both sides fighting with bows and arrows, tomahawks, etc.) to steal the territory. American Indians have talked about Whites and uneven combat.

While having better weapons & military strategies helps you win the wars, there is terror which goes into a war. In Indian wars, you have the terror of some many arrows flying @ you, getting killed with a tomahawk, etc. Have talked with American Indians who admit that the talk of stolen land means you did what I wanted to do. Long Knives or White Eyes did what you wanted to do as to say otherwise is talking with forked tongue.

A.I.M. is not credible, because think they know that it would be dumb to go to a war with 'fair fight' thinking. Think they know that wars are about winning using best weapons & strategies & not about being fair, as war is not UFC or an NFL game. During WW2, we bombed German, Italian & Japanese cities believing they would surrender. The 3 year old German, Italian & Japanese kids are innocent even if parents were guilty. The side with the better weapons & military strategies wins the war. If Germany, Italy & Japan had the atom bombs, they would have used them against us & we’d possibly still be dealing with them today.

If we go by 'fair fight', then allies during WW2 should not have used atom bombs but invaded Japan as using the atom bombs would be 'uneven combat' while a ground war where more lives both Allied & Japanese get killed. Idea of wars is to win & the US did what they believed would be the fast way to end war.

My view always will be that the atom bombs should have been dropped in other places in Japan with fewer civilians death but admit that there is no guarantee there would be surrender. There are only wrong and bad choices which President Harry S. Truman had. There was no guarantee that Japan would surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they had not surrendered after Tokyo and other cities were bombed with so many civilian deaths. If it goes to an invasion, many more civilians get killed and Japanese would have used women and children soldiers. Japanese boys would fly planes in kamikaze missions. In Okinawa, families committed suicide such as Japanese women with their children would jump off of cliffs to their deaths.

Anonymous

EDIT AND ADDED TO MARCH 6, 2017 POST

1 thing people sometimes say when discussions arise about how Indians stole territory from other Indians before Whites stole the territory from the Indians is that the Indians fought a fair fight, such as the Sioux used = weapons as the Crow and Arikara tribes had and the Sioux won their territories from those tribes by even combat, while the Whites didn't fight fairly. Have found that on some things A.I.M. is haughty & dishonest when they lecture about Whites being cowards, fair fights and uneven combat.

People esp. Native Americans or American Indians talk about how Sioux, Comanches and other tribes who got their territories from neighboring tribes used fair fight (both sides fighting with bows and arrows, tomahawks, etc.) to steal the territory. American Indians have talked about Whites and uneven combat.

While having better weapons & military strategies helps you win the wars, there is terror which goes into a war. In Indian wars, you have the terror of some many arrows flying @ you, getting killed with a tomahawk, getting killed with battle axes and knives. Native Americans or Americans also had the territorial advantage in knowing the territory. Yes, the Whites were greedy in that they stole American Indian territory (some cases American Indian conquests) but they were not cowards.

Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was going to do what was mainly for the expansion interests such as get land which had metals (gold, iron, etc.) and Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was a fool @ Little Big Horn, but he never asked his soldiers to do anything he wouldn't do himself and he would went to the front line of the Little Big Horn Battle. 1 could say that Custer's Last Stand was an attempt to steal Sioux conquests, in that the territory the Sioux lived on was taken from other Indian tribes-the Crow and Arikara.

Have talked with American Indians who admit that the talk of stolen land means you did what I wanted to do. Long Knives or White Eyes did what you wanted to do as to say otherwise is talking with forked tongue.

A.I.M. is not honest, because think they know that it would be dumb to go to a war with 'fair fight' thinking. Think they know that wars are about winning using best weapons & strategies & not about being fair, as war is not UFC or an NFL game. During WW2, we bombed German, Italian & Japanese cities believing they would surrender. The 3 year old German, Italian & Japanese kids are innocent even if parents were guilty. The side with the better weapons & military strategies wins the war. If Germany, Italy & Japan had the atom bombs, they would have used them against us & we’d possibly still be dealing with them today.

If we go by 'fair fight', then allies during WW2 should not have used atom bombs but invaded Japan as using the atom bombs would be 'uneven combat' while invading Japan which includes a ground war where more lives both Allied & Japanese get killed is a 'fair fight'. Idea of wars is to win & the US did what they believed would be the fast way to end war.

My view always will be that the atom bombs should have been dropped in other places in Japan with fewer civilians death but admit that there is no guarantee there would be surrender. There are only wrong and bad choices which President Harry S. Truman had. There was no guarantee that Japan would surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they had not surrendered after Tokyo and other cities were bombed with so many civilian deaths. If it goes to an invasion, many more civilians get killed and Japanese would have used women and children soldiers. Japanese boys would fly planes in kamikaze missions. In Okinawa, families committed suicide such as Japanese women with their children would jump off of cliffs to their deaths.

Anonymous

EDIT AND ADDED TO MARCH 6, 2017 POST

1 thing people sometimes say when discussions arise about how Indians stole territory from other Indians before Whites stole the territory from the Indians is that the Indians fought a fair fight, such as the Sioux used = weapons as the Crow and Arikara tribes had and the Sioux won their territories from those tribes by even combat, while the Whites didn't fight fairly. Have found that on some things A.I.M. is haughty & dishonest when they lecture about Whites being cowards, fair fights and uneven combat.

People esp. Native Americans or American Indians talk about how Sioux, Comanches and other tribes who got their territories from neighboring tribes used fair fight (both sides fighting with bows and arrows, tomahawks, etc.) to steal the territory. American Indians have talked about Whites and uneven combat.

While having better weapons & military strategies helps you win the wars, there is terror which goes into a war. In Indian wars, you have the terror of some many arrows flying @ you, getting killed with a tomahawk, getting killed with battle axes, spears and knives. Native Americans or Americans also had the territorial advantage. Whites were greedy in that they stole American Indian territory (some cases American Indian conquests) but they were not cowards.

Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was going to do what was mainly for the expansion interests such as get land which had metals (gold, iron, etc.) and Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer was a fool @ Little Big Horn, but he never asked his soldiers to do anything he wouldn't do himself and he would went to the front line of the Little Big Horn Battle. 1 could say that Custer's Last Stand was an attempt to steal Sioux conquests, in that the territory the Sioux lived on was taken from other Indian tribes-the Crow and Arikara.

Have talked with American Indians who admit that the talk of stolen land means you did what I wanted to do. Long Knives or White Eyes did what you wanted to do as to say otherwise is talking with forked tongue.

A.I.M. is not honest, because think they know that it would be dumb to go to a war with 'fair fight' thinking. Think they know that wars are about winning using best weapons & strategies & not about being fair, as war is not UFC or an NFL game. During WW2, we bombed German, Italian & Japanese cities believing they would surrender. The 3 year old German, Italian & Japanese kids are innocent even if parents were guilty. The side with the better weapons & military strategies wins the war. If Germany, Italy & Japan had the atom bombs, they would have used them against us & we’d possibly still be dealing with them today.

If we go by 'fair fight', then allies during WW2 should not have used atom bombs but invaded Japan as using the atom bombs would be 'uneven combat' while invading Japan which includes a ground war where more lives both Allied & Japanese get killed is a 'fair fight'. Idea of wars is to win & the US did what they believed would be the fast way to end war.

My view always will be that the atom bombs should have been dropped in other places in Japan with fewer civilians death but admit that there is no guarantee there would be surrender. There are only wrong and bad choices which President Harry S. Truman had. There was no guarantee that Japan would surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they had not surrendered after Tokyo and other cities were bombed with so many civilian deaths. If it goes to an invasion, many more civilians get killed and Japanese would have used women and children soldiers. Japanese boys would fly planes in kamikaze missions. In Okinawa, families committed suicide such as Japanese women with their children would jump off of cliffs to their deaths.

Anonymous

https://www.amren.com/news/2013/08/the-real-life-tontos-how-comanche-indians-butchered-babies-roasted-enemies-alive-and-would-ride-1000-miles-to-wipe-out-one-family/

Drug junky poster Normandie Kent's profile here https://disqus.com/by/ChumashPride69/

Normandie Kent is a drug junky who has used too many drugs by reading his posts, because Normandie Kent justifies raping 10 year old girls and Normandie Kent justifies burning babies. Yes it's true that wars were used to steal American Indian land & yes it's true that this nations treatment of American Indians was arrogant, but pushing the Noble Savage theory does not help the American Indian cause. People such as Normandie Kent do not help American Indians cause when they justify murdering babies.

Perhaps people like Normandie Kent wants to run around naked, not have technologies such as cars, but most people want the advances. I am not White but Samuel Jared Taylor is right about the 2 standards when it comes to stealing American Indian land. American Indians got their lands by stealing it from other Indian tribes, before the Whites came in and stole the land from the Indians. Comanches stole lands from other Indian tribes, before the Whites came and took it from them. There are American Indians or Native Americans who admit that the talk of stolen land means, the Whites did what the American Indians wanted to do.

Whites were able to steal American Indian land because they had the better weapons and military strategies, but when it comes to basics, people are the same whether you're White, Black, American Indian, Asian, etc. Potentially, if American Indians esp. tribes such as the Comanches had the advanced weapons and military strategies, then they would have been the 1s conquering other places in the world. Doesn't justify the fact that this nation's treatment of American Indians was arrogant and haughty, only that American Indians did things based on the the capacity they had and the Whites did the things based on capacity they had.

With wars-if it's killing some1 in a war fight, that's 1 thing, but maiming and killing POW is murder. While Axis soldiers (German, Japanese and Italian) were fighting for the wrong side, if they killed enemies in a fight but did not maim and killi POW, then it's soldiers doing a job and I won't pass judgment on that. Atrocities such as Bataan, where POW were stabbed to death with bayonets is murder, because POW must not be harmed-they have surrendered and are prisoners.
With Indian wars, it's the same thing. Raping a 10 year old girl and burning babies is murder, regardless of the perpetrators and victims ethnicity. American Indians must be treated fairly as all other ethnic groups, only the cause is not helped when Noble Savage theory is given.

Anonymous

https://townhall.com/columnists/stephenmoore/2017/07/11/why-the-greens-hate-nuclear-power-n2352970

I'm not a member of any party. Its old to hear the Repub vs. Democrat. With global warming, we know that the earth's temperature has gone up-is it natural, pollution or both? I think global warming is both, though possibly more nature. That said, we must get rid of greenhouse gases and using nuclear/atomic energy is how we must do this along with building more hydroelectric dams & geothermal. Limit fossil fuels for cars.
With global warming, compare to tobacco and emphysema. If you smoke you have increased risk of emphysema & lung cancer. Now there are people who use tobacco their whole lives but have good genes and do not get a disease while there are people who live a clean life, but still die of emphysema & or lung cancer because of bad genes. But it's still better to not use tobacco.

Possible that even without greenhouse gas pollution by coal and natural gas, that global warming would happen. But cleaning pollution is a good idea just as it's a good idea to not use tobacco. That's why again, to get clean energy, use nuclear/atomic energy, hydroelectric and geothermal.

India and China have for years built too many coal plants which is why those 2 nations are the worst when it comes to greenhouse gas pollutions. But the fact that China and India are both building hydroelectric dams and building nuclear powerplants shows that India and China are trying to get better.
Pres. DJ Trump's wrong to have removed the U.S. from Paris Climate change & he should be criticized. Only that some of the nations criticizing him such as Germany contradict. Germany has built more coal plants and used natural gas to replace their nuclear powerplants and Germany has gotten dirtier air with their coal and natural gas.

For Greenpeace and Sierra Club to think Germany's policy helps the environment is rubbish. Germany's air has been rubbish. Austria in a 1978 law forbade nuclear and Austria's air quality is bad.

President DJ Trump still deserves criticism, only that Germany and other nations who abandon nuclear deserve criticism because by abandoning nuclear, they increased greenhouse gases. President DJ Trump should be making statements calling for increasing nuclear/atomic energy so that greenhouse gases get decreased. This article should have criticized Pres. DJ Trump but unsurprisingly, this was turned into a Democrat vs. Republican when many Democrats support nuclear/atomic power and again, so far the Republican Pres. DJ Trump has not been pushing nuclear but has instead pushed for more coal.

People in both parties including ex President Obama who support nuclear/atomic energy as ex Pres. Obama during his 1st term gave loan guarantees for the U.S. to build nuclear atomic energy after many years. President DJ Trump is wrong to promote coal and natural gas, when he should be promoting nuclear/atomic energy, but he has not done so fa.Michael Shellenberger is an environmentalist who supports nuclear power. The late environmentalist and actor Paul Leonard Newman (1925-2008) supported nuclear/atomic energy.

Obama administration was wrong to give subsidies to solar. Mr. Moore is right that solar panels and windmills are environmentally damaging as they use more land, generate less energy and they have hazards such as killing endangered species & they are not green.

Nuclear/atomic energy got sensationalized bad publicity after Fukushima where ideology defeated science with nations such as Germany and Switzerland phasing out nuclear and replacing them with dirty coal and natural gas. Italy canceled it's new nuclear build plans. Nuclear/atomic energy has not gone away and 2 of the biggest Asian nations China and India have expanded nuclear/atomic energy with those 2 nations getting the most advanced nuclear powerplants. U.S. needs to bulid new nuclear, esp. as with nuclear/atomic power, they have figured out how to make more energy, using less Uranium which lasts longer and gives off less waste.

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