Standing Rock, S.D. tribal members protest Dakota Access Pipeline

BISMARCK -- A grassroots group of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members protested the Dakota Access Pipeline in front of the tribal administration office Friday.

BISMARCK -- A grassroots group of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members protested the Dakota Access Pipeline in front of the tribal administration office Friday.

Organizer Dustin Thompson said the group is opposed to the pipeline and feels administration has been close-lipped about the project, not taking into account the concerns of tribal members.

The North Dakota oil industry has high hopes tied to the $3.78 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which would begin in western North Dakota near Stanley and end near Patoka, Ill. It would transport as many as 450,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude with a future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day.

The 358-mile route through North Dakota passes through seven counties: Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer, Morton and Emmons.

Joye Braun, of Eagle Butte and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, made the trip to Fort Yates with her daughter and members of the One Mind Youth Movement youth group. She said a group of tribal members from Cannon Ball was also expected to join the protest.


Braun was active in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline project proposed by TransCanada Corp. and is joining the fight against Dakota Access.

“I have been fighting from where it starts near the Fort Berthold Reservation,” she said, and she has been meeting with landowners all along the route.

Braun said history has shown that, despite industry claims of safety, pipeline leaks can happen and the risk that poses is just too great, especially where the Missouri River flows near Fort Yates and Cannon Ball.

“You can’t eat money and you can’t drink oil. We have to save our water for future generations,” she said.

Braun said if oil were to spill into the Missouri River, it would not only destroy the potable water supply for Standing Rock Indian Reservation, it would destroy 50 percent of the potable water in South Dakota.

“That’s a lot of water and a lot of people to have an affect on,” said Braun, adding that, should a leak happen, it would be unlikely the tribes would have the resources to clean it up.

Braun said she does not think opposition to the pipeline has had much of a voice to this point but says the grassroots group has more people ready to come and fight.

“I think the people on Standing Rock are just now learning what is going to happen,” said Braun, adding the tribe did speak against the project in South Dakota.


The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the pipeline permit late last month. Dakota Access LLC, a partner of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, has tentative plans to begin pipeline construction in the spring and have the line in service by late this year but permitting approval is still pending in Iowa.

Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II did not return multiple messages left Friday.

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