By Jade Begay (ienearth.org) and Nina Smith (megaphonestrategies.com)
On May 10, 2017, the Indigenous Environmental Network is responding to reports that the Dakota Access Pipeline experienced its first spill at a pumping station near Crandon, South Dakota, 22 days before it is June 1, 2017, deadline to go into full operation.
This spill follows increased scrutiny of Energy Transfer Partners, parent company behind the pipeline, for its poor track record of preventing pipeline spills. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Tribes continue the ongoing case against the pipeline and stand committed to taking every legal action possible to stop the flow of oil through the treaty lands of the Oceti Sakowin, also known as the Great Sioux Nation.
The following are statements from the Indigenous Environmental Network:
“This leak hits close to home, my home. We have always said it’s not if but when pipelines leak, and to have someone like Richard B. Kuprewicz a pipeline infrastructure expert and incident investigator with more than 40 years of energy industry experience question the integrity and building practices of Dakota Access says something pretty serious could go wrong. That worries me. South Dakota already faces water shortages and our livelihoods depend on water, from ranching and farming to healthcare. Do we have more spills just waiting to happen? This is our home, our land and our water. This just proves their hastiness is fueled by greed not in the best interest for tribes or the Dakotas.”
— Joye Braun, Pte Ospaye, Cheyenne River Sioux Citizen
“This spills serves as a reminder that it is not a matter of if a pipeline spills, it’s a matter of when a pipeline spills. The fact that this occurred before Dakota Access even becomes operational is all the more concerning. We fear more spills will come to bear, which is an all too frequent situation with Energy Transfer Partners pipeline projects. As such, eyes of the world are watching and will keep Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Partners accountable.”
— Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network
Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. See more on the Indigenous Environment Network at www.ienearth.org.