‘Greed knows no lim­its’

First Na­tions tribes in Canada, U.S., to sign dec­la­ra­tion against Key­stone XL pipe­line

The Daily Observer - - BUSINESS - BLAKE NI­CHOL­SON

BIS­MARCK, N.D. — Tribes rep­re­sent­ing tens of thou­sands of indige­nous peo­ple in the U.S. and Canada will be sign­ing a dec­la­ra­tion against the planned Key­stone XL oil pipe­line.

Lead­ers of the Black­foot Con­fed­er­acy in Canada and the Great Sioux Na­tion and Ponca tribe in the U.S. plan to sign their dec­la­ra­tion at a cer­e­mony Wed­nes­day at the Glen­bow Mu­seum in Cal­gary, the city where pipe­line de­vel­oper Tran­sCanada Corp. is based.

“There is a his­toric union be­tween first Amer­i­cans in Canada and Na­tive Amer­i­cans in the United States,” said Casey Camp-Horinek, a coun­cil­woman with the Ponca tribe in Ok­la­homa. “Long be­fore a bor­der ever ex­isted on a map, a fic­ti­tious line on a map, we were a united peo­ples in our ap­proach to care of Mother Earth.”

The 16-page dec­la­ra­tion high­lights the tribes’ treaty rights and their op­po­si­tion to the pro­posed $8-bil­lion US pipe­line, which would move Cana­dian crude south to Ne­braska, where the pipe­line would con­nect with an ex­ist­ing Key­stone pipe­line net­work that would take the oil to Texas Gulf Coast re­finer­ies.

“Greed knows no lim­its, and those in the way are sim­ply col­lat­eral dam­age to cor­po­rate profits,” said Bran­don Sazue, chair­man of the Crow Creek Sioux in South Dakota and one of the lead­ers of the event.

Tran­sCanada, which has both a Na­tive Amer­i­can Re­la­tions Pol­icy and an Abo­rig­i­nal Re­la­tions Pol­icy, main­tains the pipe­line will be en­vi­ron­men­tally safe and will cre­ate jobs and boost the econ­omy.

“We un­der­stand and re­spect that there are some who might have dif­fer­ent views about this project,” spokes­woman Jac­que­lynn Ben­son said. “Tran­sCanada is al­ways in­ter­ested in the views of our stake­hold­ers along the right of way.”

For­mer U.S. pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­jected the project in 2015, but the ad­min­is­tra­tion of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over­turned that de­ci­sion this year.

The project still faces hur­dles. A coali­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal groups has chal­lenged the fed­eral per­mit in court, say­ing more en­vi­ron­men­tal study is needed. Ne­braska reg­u­la­tors also haven’t de­cided whether to ap­prove the pro­posed route through that state.

Tribes plan to use Wed­nes­day’s doc­u­ment to draw at­ten­tion to their cause — pos­si­bly send­ing it to the UN — while they also con­sider other op­po­si­tion, in­clud­ing protest camps along the pipe­line route, Camp-Horinek said.

Months of demon­stra­tions against the Dakota Ac­cess oil pipe­line drew hun­dreds and some­times thou­sands of pro­test­ers to a North Dakota camp.

“There will be that kind of re­sis­tance” to Key­stone XL, Camp Horinek said. “Those thoughts are in place, where those camps will be best suited.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

Na­tive groups march to­ward the White House in Wash­ing­ton on March 10 to rally against the dis­puted Dakota Ac­cess pipe­line. Tribes rep­re­sent­ing tens of thou­sands of indige­nous peo­ple on both sides of the U.S.-Canada bor­der are sign­ing a dec­la­ra­tion against the planned Key­stone XL pipe­line.

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