+North Dakota’s Tribes Oppose Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline (091311)




Resolution Entitled:  Opposition to Keystone Excel (“Keystone II”) Pipeline now being considered for authorization by the United States Department of State, on the basis that construction of such pipeline is not in the national interests of the United States




United Tribes of North Dakota (“United Tribes”) is an association of the five federally recognized Tribes located in North Dakota, each of which has a government-to-government relationship with the United States established by Treaty, including the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyaté, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, with a Board of Directors composed of the Chairman and one council member from each member Tribe; and


United Tribes exists to assist in furthering the common goals of the North Dakota Indian Tribes and Nations; and


On September 7-9, 2011, the Tribal Chairman and the Tribal Council representatives from the five Tribal Nations that are members of United Tribes of North Dakota, along with other Tribal leaders from the upper Great Plains, have been meeting at the Fifteenth Annual InterTribal Summit, the theme of which has been “Tribal Challenge:  Provide a Safe, Secure Environment for Living and Learning With Limited Resources”, discussing issues of great importance to the Indian Tribal Nations of North Dakota and their members; and


a major oil transmission pipeline is planned to extend from northern Alberta, Canada, from areas that have sand mixed with tar and oil, called “tar sands,” to refineries in the United States; and


the route of the pipeline, called Keystone XL because it is the second oil transmission pipeline to be constructed by the same company that built the first Keystone pipeline, crosses through Indian country in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, near and potentially over, many culturally significant areas for Tribal Nations within those provinces and states; and


based on the relatively poor environmental record of the first Keystone pipeline, which includes numerous spills, U.S. regulators shut the pipeline down in late May, 2011, and, therefore, based on the record of the first Keystone pipeline, and other factors, it is probable that further environmental disasters will occur in Indian country if the new pipeline is allowed to be constructed; and


the First Nations of Canada, representing the vast majority of First Nations impacted by “tar sands” development, have unanimously passed resolutions supporting a moratorium on new “tar sands” development and expansion until a “cumulative effects management system” is in place, and are also in opposition to the pipeline; and


many U.S. Tribal Nations are also in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, including several Tribal Nations in the Great Plains, because it would threaten, among other things, water aquifers, water ways, cultural sites, agricultural lands, animal life, public drinking water sources and other resources vital to the peoples of the region in which the pipeline is proposed to be constructed; and


Indian tribes including the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians are also in opposition to the Exxon-Imperial “Heavy Haul” proposal to transport “tar sands” equipment through the Nez Perce Reservation and across scenic highways, and several Indian tribes have joined in litigation to stop this proposal; and


the pipeline is unnecessary as a number of other pipelines are not at full capacity to carry oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S., and the oil is also not likely to end up on the U.S. market but will be exported to foreign countries; and


Tribal Nations and First Nations within Indian country near the route of the proposed pipeline have already stated their opposition from both Tribes and environmental groups, a supplemental environmental impact statement has been required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from the proposed operators of the pipeline, a draft of which is now available for public comment; and


since the pipeline is designed to cross the U.S.-Canadian border, the United States Department of State is the lead U.S. agency in evaluating whether the pipeline should be allowed to be constructed in the U.S.; and


the First Nations of Canada and Tribal Nations within the U.S. have a long history of working to ensure protection of their environment, and the Keystone XL pipeline poses grave dangers if it is constructed; and


the U.S. Department of State is continuing to accept public comments until October 7, 2011, but despite the concerns of the numerous Tribal Nations and the First Nations of Canada has recently received notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a “Finding of No Significant Impact” from the proposed pipeline.


the U. S. Department of State did not properly consult with the Tribes along the route of the Keystone Excel Pipeline and, as a result of the mechanisms  used for what consultation was provided, the affected Tribal Nations were not provided the opportunity for “free and informed consent” regarding the construction of the pipeline.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United Tribes of North Dakota stands in solidarity with the First Nations of Canada and with Tribal Nations in the United States in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and the Exxon-Imperial Heavy Haul proposal and their negative impacts on cultural sites and the environment in those portions of Indian country over and through which it is proposed to be constructed, and disagrees with the Finding of No Significant Impact issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and agrees to file these comments regarding this opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline with the Secretary of State as soon as possible; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UTND hereby urges all its Tribal Nations to submit comments to the U.S. Department of State regarding the Keystone XL project; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States is urged to reduce its reliance on the world’s dirtiest and most environmentally destructive form of oil – the “tar sands” – that threatens Indian country in both Canada and the United States and the way of life of thousands of citizens of First Nations in Canada and American Indians in the U.S., and requests the U.S. government to take aggressive measures to work towards sustainable energy solutions that include clean alternative energy and improving energy efficiency; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution shall be the policy of United Tribes of North Dakota until otherwise amended or rescinded, or until the policy objective of this Resolution is accomplished.


As Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Tribes of North Dakota, I hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was duly passed at a meeting of the United Tribes of North Dakota Board of Directors at which a quorum was present, held on the 9th day of September, 2011, in Bismarck, North Dakota, with a vote of 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstaining, and 2 not present.

Tex G. Hall [signed]

Chairman, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation

Chairman, Board of Directors

United Tribes of North Dakota


Robert Shepherd [signed]

Chairman, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyatê

Secretary, Board of Directors

United Tribes of North Dakota


NOTE:  The formatting on this WordPress blog does not allow for an exact match with the spacing of the original copy.  It was also not possible to post the pdf file of the original copy on this blog.  In order to make this information available on Facebook this seemed to be the best alternative possible.


+North Dakota’s Tribes Oppose Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline (091311)



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