Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tribe holds conference to oppose Keystone pipeline

Tribal members gathered this week in Rapid City to find ways to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.

"It's one of the first times ever that the grassroots traditional people and the tribal governments are coming together to come up with ideas and strategies to oppose the pipelines," said Vic Camp, who spoke at the conference.

Camp, a grassroots organizer and trainer for Oweaku has been organizing tribes across the midwest and west against the pipeline.

Thursday, the conference featured presentations on the Keystone pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to Texas.

"We had people from Canada Skype in and show us the actual impact it's having on Mother Earth up there," Camp said.

Friday, the conference focused on finding ways to oppose the pipeline. In the afternoon, about 80 attendees broke out into strategy groups to brainstorm. 

Camp described it as a way to find out "how do we fight it through the court system, how do we fight it on a treaty level, how do we fight it through the tribal system."

The conference was organized by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and representatives of several Sioux tribes attended.

A State Department report released earlier this year state that it had no major environmental objections to the pipeline.

At a proposed 1,179, miles, the $7 billion pipeline would ferry oil through Montana and South Dakota to a hub in Nebraska. There it would connect with existing pipelines to get the oil to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.

Pipeline supporters say it will create thousands of jobs and move the U.S. toward energy independence.

Opponents say it would encourage global warming by carrying "dirty oil" from Canada. The State Department report says oil derived from tar sands in Alberta generates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional crude.

The report also notes that other methods of transporting the oil — including rail, trucks and barges — would release more greenhouse gases than the pipeline.

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