BISMARCK – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the International Indian Treaty Council have appealed to the United Nations for help in their fight against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline under the Missouri River on Treaty lands a half-mile from the reservation.
“We specifically request that the United States Government impose an immediate moratorium on all pipeline construction until the Treaty Rights and Human Rights of the Standing Rock Tribe can be ensured and their free, prior and informed consent is obtained,” Chairman Dave Archambault and the Treaty Council said in their appeal to top U.N. human rights officials.
As a matter of extreme urgency, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Treaty Council jointly submitted an urgent action communication to four U.N. human rights Special Rapporteurs citing “ongoing threats and violations to the human rights of the Tribe, its members and its future generations.” The tribe’s water supply is threatened by construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which was permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in late July, despite the objections of three federal agencies including the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
“Its proposed route is in close proximity to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the Missouri River, the main source of water for the Tribe,” the appeal said of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline, which would wend its way through four states and carry up to half a billion barrels of oil daily from the Bakken oil fields. “This pipeline’s construction is being carried out without the Tribe’s free, prior and informed consent in direct contradiction to their clearly expressed wishes.”
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II and others have emphasized the peaceful nature of the gathering, saying only that they want to protect the water.
Meanwhile, as peaceful protests continued on the site and at the state capitol for the second week, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple declared a state of emergency in several counties as construction was halted on site as thousands of water protectors arrived and camped along the river.
Declaring a state of emergency paves the way for more funding for public safety and other resources to be mobilized “for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and well-being of the general public and those involved in the protest,” the governor’s office stated in a press release, noting that it does not activate the National Guard. “The executive order can help the state and local agencies manage costs associated with providing a heightened law enforcement presence and activates the State Emergency Operations Plan to coordinate the efficient flow of resources.”
Some North Dakota residents are questioning why taxpayers are footing the bill for law enforcement manpower to protect a wealthy billionaire who owns Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of Dakota Access Pipeline LLC.