Tag Archives: Keystone XL

Rosebud Sioux Tribe To Host Keystone XL Rejection Victory Celebration

"Wocekiye Unwohiye” Success through Prayer. Photo: Facebook

“Wocekiye Unwohiye” Success through Prayer. Photo: Facebook

For Immediate Release: 11/10/2015

Rosebud, SD Tribal Nations ranchers and farmers from South Dakota and Nebraska to celebrate the Death of the Black Snake / Keystone XL rejection.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe announced this morning that they will be hosting a Keystone XL Rejection Victory Celebration. The celebration is titled “Wocekiye Unwohiye” Success through Prayer. The Celebration will take place at the Sinte Gleska University Multi-Purpose Center, 101 Antelope Lake Circle, Mission, South Dakota over two days.

The two day celebration is in tribute of another great victory that of the Battle of the Greasy Grass aka Battle of the Little Big Horn. On June 26, 1876, 139 years ago this battle took place and the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota Cheyenne and Arapaho defeated the US Calvary. The victory celebration and dance was held in Rosebud and hosted by the Sicangu Oyate soon after. Which has become an annual event. Paula Antoine Tribal member and event organizer stated “At that time tribal nations were faced with insurmountable foes, the US Calvary for one. Today our allies are not only our Tribal relatives but allies from across the country farming and ranching communities from along the proposed route were joined by national environmental groups together we stood against a giant sent by big oil and we defeated it.”

The two day celebration will be focused on honoring key individuals and organizations who were instrumental in organizing efforts against the Black Snake event will start at noon and will be as follows;

On Friday November 13th The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will be hosting a closed ceremony for the tribe and tribal members at the tribal bldg.

On Saturday Nov 14th at 12pm cst the tribe is inviting all of the allies, partner organizations and media from across the nation to attend this Keystone XL rejection victory celebration.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is grateful and honored by President Obama’s decision and looks forward to recognizing the grassroots, tribal, local, state, and national efforts in helping reject the pipeline. Through unity we ensured a better world for our grandchildren.

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U.S. Lawmaker Says Obama Is About To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline Project

A yard in Gascoyne, ND., which has hundreds of kilometres of pipes stacked inside it that are supposed to go into the Keystone XL pipeline, should it ever be approved are shown shown on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta

A yard in Gascoyne, ND., which has hundreds of kilometres of pipes stacked inside it that are supposed to go into the Keystone XL pipeline, should it ever be approved are shown shown on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta

The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON – A U.S. lawmaker boldly predicted Tuesday that President Barack Obama is about to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, after years of delay and debate.

The surprise statement came on floor of the U.S. Senate, from an unexpected source.

Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican critic of the president and a staunch defender of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline project, is unlikely to be privy to White House planning.

But rumours of an imminent rejection have swirled around Washington in recent days and Hoeven made them very public. In a chamber speech, he claimed to know what Obama will decide, when he’ll decide it and what logic he’ll use in making his long-awaited announcement.

The repercussions of a decision could ripple beyond the oil industry and environmental movement and make themselves felt on the campaign trail in upcoming elections in both Canada and the U.S.

The North Dakota senator said the president will make the announcement after Congress adjourns in two weeks for its summer recess, when Washington is quiet.

“Sources tell me that after almost seven years, President Obama is going to turn down the Keystone XL pipeline project,” Hoeven said.

“He’ll wait until Congress is out of session for August. And then he’ll turn the project down while Congress is not in session, to have less pushback, less criticism of his decision if you will, make it under the radar.

“That’s understandable, because he’s making a political decision rather than a decision based on the merits.”

He said Obama will base his decision on environmental grounds — and he blasted the president for that, saying his own State Department concluded the pipeline wouldn’t increase pollution.

If the rejection comes, Hoeven previewed a line of attack Republicans will use: A comparison with Iran. Hoeven noted the irony of denying a permit to a Canadian oil project, right after the Obama administration agreed to a nuclear deal that allowed an increase in Iranian oil exports.

“The president is making it harder to produce energy at home, here in our country and get energy from our closest friend and ally, Canada, (but) he wants to make it easier to produce oil in Iran. Think about that.”

Keystone XL would carry about one-quarter of the oil Canada exports to the U.S. each day and ease potential bottlenecks on rail lines, but its U.S. opponents argue that it would help develop one of the world’s dirtiest sources of oil.

The issue has become a fault line in the U.S. debate over climate change and energy politics. Republicans staunchly support the project. Democrats are divided and the issue has proven especially uncomfortable for presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who sidestepped a question about it for the second straight day Tuesday.

Her rival Jeb Bush criticized her, in a possible foreshadowing of the 2016 presidential campaign: “The president has to make lots of tough calls,” Bush tweeted after the latest Clinton non-answer.

“Supporting Keystone XL and North American energy security is an easy one.”

The issue also has political overtones in Canada.

The NDP has expressed opposition to the project. The Liberals support it, and blame the Harper government’s inaction on climate change for making Canadian oil controversial in the U.S. The Harper government also included a domestic political shot in its reaction to Tuesday’s news from the U.S..

Asked about Hoeven’s remarks, the Canadian government issued a statement saying it didn’t want to interfere in the American debate, but would continue defending the pipeline.

The statement concluded with: “Justin Trudeau says Canada needs a price on carbon. His risky scheme would set hard-working Canadian families back and hurt Canada’s economy and competitiveness.”

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hoeven’s remarks.


‘Dead on Arrival’: Senate Vote Fails to Override Keystone Veto

Republican Senator James Inhofe, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, brandished a snowball while giving a Senate speech about the "hysteria on global warming" on February 26. (Screenshot via C-SPAN)

Republican Senator James Inhofe, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, brandished a snowball while giving a Senate speech about the “hysteria on global warming” on February 26. (Screenshot via C-SPAN)

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer | Common Dreams

Eight Democrats align with Republicans in attempt to force tar sands pipeline project

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday failed to override President Barack Obama’s recent veto of legislation approving the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project.

The 62-37 vote fell just five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to nullify the presidential veto.

Eight Democrats—the very same lawmakers who voted to approve the $8 billion pipeline project in January—voted to override the veto. They are: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Warner (Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Jon Tester (Mont.). Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly, who also backs the pipeline, missed the vote.

Failure to override the veto does not mean that the Keystone project is no longer a threat, environmental advocates warned on Wednesday afternoon after the vote.

In a reference to a recent stunt pulled by Republican Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), during which he brandished a snowball on the Senate floor as evidence against climate change, 350.org U.S. communications manager Karthik Ganapathy said in a statement: “This vote does to Keystone XL what Jim Inhofe’s snowball does to the overwhelming consensus on climate change: absolutely nothing.”

“Congress has known from the beginning this bill would be dead on arrival—a fact even Denier-in-Chief Inhofe acknowledged when he said last week that Big Oil simply doesn’t have the votes to override,” Ganapathy continued. “Keystone XL has always been President Obama’s decision, today does nothing to change that, and we’re confident the President will do right by our climate and reject the pipeline once and for all.”

According to The Hill, undeterred proponents of the pipeline vowed to attach its approval to an upcoming transportation bill or include it in a broader energy package.

The Keystone Pipeline Debate Is Missing A Huge Human Cost: Indigenous Rights

Matthew Black Eagle Man of the Sioux Long Plains First Nation of Manitoba protests in front of the U.S. Capitol, against the Keystone XL pipeline in April 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

Matthew Black Eagle Man of the Sioux Long Plains First Nation of Manitoba protests in front of the U.S. Capitol, against the Keystone XL pipeline in April 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

By Jake Flanagin | Quartz

On Feb. 24, president Obama vetoed a congressional bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. Although the debate surrounding the project was widely seen as a conflict between environmentalists and industrialists, the case also raised important questions about one of America’s oldest bad habits: trampling on indigenous rights.

The Rosebud Sioux, also known as the Sicangu Lakota, reside on a reservation that includes all of Todd County, South Dakota, and additional lands in the four adjacent. That land, originally encompassing all of South Dakota west of the Missouri River, was entreatied to the greater Sioux nation in 1851 and 1868, but has been gradually reduced to its current boundaries by decades of territorial whittling by the federal government. Only in 1934 were the Rosebud Sioux officially recognized as a self-governing nation—see the Indian Reorganization Act (pdf)—and thus formally allotted ownership of land that, prior to the arrival of European colonists, had been their’s for centuries.

Today, life on the typical Native American reservation is far from perfect: Poverty, high unemployment, substandard education and healthcare are all major issues these communities face. Choosing to live on reservations, therefore, can be a powerful statement of sovereignty. To some, it is an act of self-determination intended to stand against centuries of forced-assimilation policies which stripped land, resources and even children from tribal communities.

Keystone XL brought this hard-won spirit of sovereignty under threat. The plan to expand an existing oil pipeline system, linking oil-rich tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta with refineries and distributors across the US, would essentially bisect South Dakota, cutting straight through Rosebud Sioux tribal land. A longtime topic of concern for environmentalists, the Keystone XL pipeline raised hackles, being yet another instance in which the American government attempted to circumvent Native sovereignty in the pursuit of economic gain.

Passions boiled over in November following a vote in the US House of Representatives approving expansion. In a press release issued in response to the vote, Rosebud Sioux tribal president Cyril Scott said, “Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people.” It was a statement intended to stoke passions, and perhaps rightfully so.

Tara Houska, a tribal rights attorney in Washington, DC, and a founding member of NotYourMascots.org, is more measured in her wording, but generally agrees with Scott’s assessment of the situation. The risk for local tribes would have been huge. Keystone XL brings with it the risk that spilled diluted bitumen, or “dilbit,” might contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, the only source of drinking water for tribes like the Rosebud and Ogallala Sioux, that latter of which Houska helped negotiate terms of the project.

In the event of a spill, “what does the federal government expect them to do?” Houska told Quartz, “Survive on bottled water? For years? Are they serious?”

Federal disregard for Native stakes in the pipeline expansion are part of a larger pattern of inattention, she added. Many area tribes, including the Ogallala Sioux, feel they were inadequately consulted by authorities in Washington prior to congressional approval earlier in February. “When I got brought in, they had already had their quote-on-quote consultation,” Houska said. Washington’s envoys were apparently well out of their depth, seemingly unaware (or uninterested) in Keystone XL’s specific impact on Sioux reservations. “[Tribal representatives] ended up leading the meeting!”

Even if a major industrial project, such as Keystone XL, skirts officially recognized tribal boundaries, sufficient consultation with area tribes is required by law, she explained. “There are often times when we have rights to treaty lands that were never officially ceded.” The lackluster meeting between Ogallala Sioux representatives and federal authorities “did not meet the requirements of consultation,” she said.

In addition to potential environmental impacts, tribes require consultation on projects like Keystone XL for a number a reasons, chief among them issues pertaining to community safety. “It’s going to bring a large number of men into the area,” Houska said, citing concerns raised by South Dakota law enforcement and women’s rights advocacy-groups. The housing of about 1,000 pipeline laborers, mostly men, in TransCanada work camps placed close to reservations could cause an uptick in sexual assaults against area women. Native women are already2.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than women of any other race, reports Mary Annette Pember for Indian Country Today. “The perpetrators of this violence are overwhelmingly non-Native,” she noted.

Beyond the practicalities of community health and security, the potential impact of the pipeline on the earth is of course of great concern as well. But, for Natives, a commitment to environmentalist values extends far beyond the political. “As a woman, I’m a waterkeeper. That’s part of my culture,” Tara Houska explained. (She is Minnesota Anishinaabe and a citizen of the Couchiching First Nation in Ontario.) “Being stewards of the earth, moving beyond fossil fuels, is more than just about sustainability for us. It’s a cultural requirement.”

“The Lakota people have always been stewards of this land,” president Scott said in his statement, insisting that weaning society off of its fossil-fuel dependency is key to brighter futures both on and off reservations. “We feel it is imperative to to provide safe and responsible alternative energy resources not only to tribal members, but to non-tribal-members as well,” he added. “We need to start remembering that the earth is our mother and stop polluting her, and start taking steps to preserve the land, water, and our grandchildren’s future.”

“It’s the fourth-largest aquifer in the world,” Houska said of the Ogallala Aquifer. “The largest in the United States. It provides 30% of the irrigation water for the country.” Any future industrial projects in the region could have similarly devastating aftermaths. “This issue affects you, whether you live on a reservation or in a big city.”

Obama Vetoes Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline Approval

FILE - In this April 18, 2014 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio says Congress is sending President Barack Obama legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The Globe and Mail

President Barack Obama vetoed the Congressional approval of the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday although he made clear he wasn’t making any final decision about the merits of the controversial Canadian pipeline.

“Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” the president said in a letter to the Senate. “Because this act of Congress conflicts  with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest – including our security, safety, and environment – it has earned my veto.”

Mr. Obama’s veto – only the third of his presidency – will escalate the battle between Congress and the president over the Canadian pipeline that would send Alberta oil sands crude to the Texas Gulf coast.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed that the veto didn’t signal Mr. Obama’s final decision on Keystone XL. “The president will keep an open mind,” he said, adding Mr. Obama will eventually decide based on the best interests of the United States. “It certainly is possible that the president will” approve Keystone XL, he said.

Keystone XL backers in Congress vowed to fight back.

Republican leaders accused the president of pandering to powerful green groups who claim Keystone XL will trigger massive expansion of Alberta’s carbon-heavy reserves and thus worsen greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change.

“The allure of appeasing environmental extremists may be too powerful for the president to ignore,” said the top two Republicans in Congress in a jointly penned article for USA Today. “But the president is sadly mistaken if he thinks vetoing this bill will end this fight,” vowed Senate Majority Leader Mitch, McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.

It’s not yet clear whether the Republicans – along with Democrat backers of TransCanada Corp.’s $8-billlion pipeline, will attempt to round up the necessary two-thirds majorities needed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to override a presidential veto.

The prospects look grim.

Although 63 senators backed the Keystone XL approval bill – essentially an attempt to wrest control of the decision from Mr. Obama who has repeatedly delayed deciding on the project for years – that’s short of the 67 needed to override a veto. And while nine Democrats joined the 54 Republicans who, in the wake of last November’s mid-term gains, now hold a majority in the Senate, chances of finding another four votes seem slim.

In the House, where the Keystone XL approval bill passed 270-152, finding the 288 votes to override Mr. Obama would be even harder.

That won’t end the showdown.

“Keystone is a no-brainer in every way,” Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell said, echoing the phrase used by Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has lobbied relentlessly on behalf of TransCanada over the contentious pipeline that has soured bilateral relations.

Republicans and Democratic backers of Keystone XL claim Mr. Obama is out of step with the majority of Americans and bipartisan support of the project in Congress. “This White House refuses to listen and look for common ground. It’s the same kind of top-down, tone-deaf leadership we’ve come to expect and we were elected to stop,” Mr. Boehner and Mr. Connell said.

 The White House has said Mr. Obama’s veto shouldn’t be seen as his final decision on the merits of the long-delayed project. “The reason the president will veto this bill is because it circumvents a longstanding approval process” used by presidents of both parties to evaluate projects like Keystone XL, Mr. Earnest said. The veto “does not represent his position on the pipeline itself,” he added.

A final decision may come later this year, once the State Department’s long-running assessment of the project is complete.