President Barack Obama must soon make a life or death decision. He holds the future of our planet in his hands as he contemplates approving or disapproving the application for a Presidential Permit for TransCanada to build their Keystone tar sands oil pipeline through our treaty lands.
Last week over 200 people signed up to speak at the State Department’s hearing held in Grand Island, Nebraska. I listened to members of the Cowboy-Indian-Alliance speak against the construction of TransCanada’s pipeline. At risk is the Ogallala Aquifer. This vast, vital water source serves humans, animals and crops in at least eight states.
Over the past three years I have written several pieces on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the danger it poses to Earth’s survival. Still, there are mindless politicians on every level of government who could care less about life-threatening oil pipeline ruptures. In fact, all they care about is being re-elected to office. Politicians who accept campaign funds from oil companies sell their souls for free money. Many politicians are akin to lifeless robots. They obviously do not possess the critical thinking skills required to plan for the survival of the coming Seven Generations.
There have been countless oil spills on both land and in the waters resulting in irreversible contamination. Many humans, animals, plant and birds have suffered from these man-made disasters. If the current rush to mine all the oil and minerals from the Earth continues, our children will have a very difficult time surviving.
The Oglala Lakota Nation and the Black Hills Treaty Council have both gone on record opposing tar sands mining operations in Canada and the building of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline. Both the tribe and treaty council are also in support of the Mother Earth Accord which was adopted by numerous tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and presented to President Barack Obama.
Furthermore, most Indian Reservations are lacking in homeland security. How would you react if someone invaded your home and threatened your family? I would not be very kind to anyone who made the personal choice to invade my home. The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a homeland security issue affecting all of us. Putting a large pipeline to carry undisclosed dangerous chemicals over our primary water source is probably the most lethal terrorist threat we’ve ever faced.
When this pipeline ruptures, as it surely will, where will our water come from? Where will we find water to drink, use in our gardens or give to our pets/livestock if the aquifer we depend is contaminated with tar sands oil?
The federal government created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the 9/11 attacks to make the United States of America a safer place to live. The Homeland Security Act was signed into law on November 25, 2002. The mission of DHS is basically “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.” When you browse their webpage you will see several areas DHS focuses on, including counterterrorism, border security, preparedness, response, recovery, immigration and cybersecurity.
I have attended many tribal council meetings and the only areas I have ever heard them discuss are preparedness and response. What about counterterrorism, border security, recovery, immigration and cybersecurity? What about the security of our water? Our tribal governments could create our own DHS “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.”
When we make a statement opposing tar sands mining and oil pipeline construction it means we do not support anything associated with these operations. I believe our tribal governments need to fast track some laws about overweight vehicles traveling the roads running through our lands. How much revenue could South Dakota tribes take in if there was a weigh station at every reservation entrance point?
There are so many trucks on the road now and who knows what they are carrying. The covered loads appear highly suspicious. Look at highway 83 which runs through the Rosebud Rez. Overloaded semi-trucks traveling 70-80 mph are extremely hazardous. They are a threat to our homeland security. Many tribal members have died on highway 83 after crashing with a semi-truck.
Our homeland will never be secure as long as these trucks are allowed free passage through our lands. Who will clean up the mess if there is ever a hazard waste spill from a semi-truck next to Sicangu Village or in downtown Mission? How many Lakota children will be affected if this ever happens?
If our tribal governments and elected officials are really serious about their written, approved statements against tar sands oil mining and the construction of new oil pipelines, they must be ready to assert their authority as a sovereign nation to back up the grassroots people/organizations and the homelands they represent. Tribal governments can only make their own legislation stronger by giving the state of South Dakota notice that the transport of oil mining or pipeline construction equipment is banned on any roads running through our reservations. Our tribal governments must work “to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.” It is their job.
It is our responsibility to advocate for Mother Earth’s survival and to protect our sacred water for the coming generations. Be one of the million and show your love for your descendants by making a comment against the Keystone XL pipeline by Earth Day which is April 22, 2013.
You can enter your remarks here and your comment could read: “Please do not jeopardize our Ogallala Aquifer by building this death project. Our descendants deserve better. You do not have a right to take away their chances for a good life full of uncontaminated drinking water by risking an oil spill or leak from the Keystone pipeline running into the Ogallala Aquifer. Please do not approve the Presidential Permit.”
Do not let your great-great grandchildren die of thirst.