Native Americans Applaud President Obama’s Decision Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Obama acknowledges his commitment to Native Americans to listen to their concerns

Bemidji, Minnesota - Tribal leaders and Native organizations from the United States and Canada are standing together today pleased that President Barack Obama is acknowledging his pledge to listen to the voices of this countries’ original people, by rejecting the Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline. Recent months have brought tribal leaders to Washington DC requesting Obama to reject the pipeline. “Tribal governmental leaders from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Sac and Fox Nation met with President Obama and his administration in Washington DC in early December to deliver a message to reject the Keystone XL pipeline in defense of Mother Earth,“ says Tom B.K. Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“I say miigwetch, thank you, to the Creator for giving President Obama and the U.S. Department of State the courage, strength and wisdom to deny the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Lifting up this issue as a Native rights issue bringing our tribal grassroots and governmental leaders together with environmentalist and private land owners of the prairie lands sent a message loud and clear that this was the right thing to do,” said Marty Cobenais, lead pipeline organizer with IEN.

Debra White Plume, a grandmother of the Oglala Lakota Oyate who was arrested in the Washington DC protest of the pipeline says, “Rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline is a reason to celebrate! At least that source of contamination that was a threat of our drinking water sources, the Missouri River, and the Ogallala Aquifer has been removed. Now we just have to stop the uranium mining that is poisoning the aquifer every day.”

“President Obama and the State Department deserve our thanks for having the foresight and courage to reject the permit application for the pipeline.  The stated number of jobs on the project was so inflated that it started to outweigh the health, environmental and climate impacts being experienced by the Cree, Dene and Métis communities living downstream from the tar sands in Canada. In any of these carbon intense fossil fuel developments, and its pipeline infrastructures, economic externality costs have to be thoroughly assessed,” said Pat Spears, President of Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, based in South Dakota. “In the Northern Plains our tribes have alternatives for clean renewable energy.”

“This is one battle won for our Mother Earth,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller, campaign coordinator with IEN Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign. “Other pipeline battles linked to the Canadian tar sands continue. We remain vigilant in our work with First Nations in Canada and grassroots leaders to halt the tar sands. We are working with activists in British Columbia to stop the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, and other pipelines throughout Canada.”


For More information

Clayton Thomas-Muller IEN Tar Sands Campaign Coordinator email: ienoil@igc.org cell: (613) 297 7515

Marty Cobenais IEN Pipeline Organizer email: martyc@ienearth.org  cell: (218) 760 0284

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