Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Amerindian Tribe voice grievances over the construction of a pipeline that crosses their main water source

The proposed pipeline, being built by Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, would run from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, to a terminus in Illinois. The Pipeline route would go under the Missouri river, the main source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and would run only half a mile from their reservation border. Given the history of pipeline leaks, and especially given the fact that it was only a few months ago that the Key Stone pipeline in South Dakota leaked 17,000 gallons of tar sands oil, one of only thirty-five such leaks since 2010, the tribal nations have legitimate grievances that have yet to be addressed. This of course is not the extent of the case against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. It is also worth mentioning that even though the proposed pipeline is being built on 'federal land', technically the property of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal government does not have a legitimate exclusive claim to the land, according to their own laws. Article IV clause II establishes that treaties ratified by congress, including the 400 or so broken Indian treaties, are the supreme law of the land.

'This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.'

Thus, the federal government not only has no moral claim to the land on which the pipeline is being built, since they acquired the land, like all landed property, through initiatory violence against previous inhabitants, but they also have no legal claim to the land either, because it was acquired by breaking their own laws. The informed consent of the party with the greatest stake in the matter is imperative not only because the pipeline threatens to diminish their natural right to the use of the earth and its resources, particularly water, but they have as good a claim to the land as the federal government.

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