In the wake of recent events, we at Core Engineering & Consulting, Inc. are compelled to state publicly our position on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the efforts of the Hunkpapa Lakota Oyate and the Oceti Sakowin to protect not only their ancestral homelands and sacred cultural sites from decimation but also to protect the waters of the Missouri River for current and future generations.
We as engineers and geologists understand that water and oil do not mix. The effects of a pipeline spill into the Missouri River would be devastating, not only to the Standing Rock Lakota Nation, but to thousands of communities downstream which rely on the river for drinking water, irrigation, commerce and recreation. The argument that pipelines are substantially safer than rail or truck transit is substantially misleading. Statistics show that although pipeline spills occur approximately half as often as those by rail, the spills are on average three times as severe. Since 1986, pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year, or more than 3 million gallons. In the most recent 4-year reporting period, there have been more than 350 pipeline spills in the state of North Dakota alone.
We as citizens of the United States understand that our treaty obligations must be upheld. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 guarantees the rights of the Lakota and eight other tribes to their ancestral homelands without incursion. Despite the government’s past failures to enforce the treaty, its obligations toward the Lakota to respect and protect their rights to the very land on which the pipeline is to be constructed remain. A meaningful government-to-government consultation regarding the effects of the pipeline on Lakota lands is imperative to the fulfillment of these obligations.
We as citizens of the world understand that human rights apply to all humans. The actions, and inactions, of the Morton County Sheriff’s office have made an extraordinarily strong declaration that Morton County and the State of North Dakota do not agree. The human rights violations committed by pipeline security forces, sheriff’s deputies, highway patrolmen and ND National Guard soldiers have been egregious. When attack dogs are used against unarmed citizens, and the Sheriff’s office blames those attacked for provoking the dogs; when a member of the pipeline security force attempts to infiltrate the water protectors’ camp armed with an assault rifle, and the Sheriff’s office claims the individual is an armed protester; when peaceful demonstrators are indiscriminately subjected to pepper spray, tasers, beanbag rounds and rubber bullets without provocation or warning; when individuals are forcibly removed by law enforcement from ceremonial sweat lodges while in prayer; when peaceful demonstrators are rounded up like cattle, locked in dog cages and numbered like animals. And these are just a few of the many horrific acts perpetrated by law enforcement under the direction of the Morton County Sheriff’s office.
We as children of God understand that all life is sacred and all living things deserve honor and respect. In the Lakota culture, it’s termed mitakuye oyasin, “we are all related”. From the smallest insect to the largest mammals, we all come from Unci Maka and we all have our place in the circle of life. While the Lakota respect and honor all life, Energy Transfer Partners and the Morton County Sheriff’s office fail to recognize the value of human life.
We have a long road ahead in this country to achieve the level of dignity and respect we have stolen from so many of our native people. We at Core Engineering & Consulting, Inc. will do our part as WE STAND WITH STANDING ROCK!