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Valley Donations Headed to Pipeline Protesters in North Dakota

Alyssa Longie and her Daughter Isabel Anderson from Devils Lake, ND, hand their supplies to Community member Adolph Soliz who drove to Cannon Ball, ND, to personally deliver the valley donations.

On August 25, supporters from around the Valley found themselves in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community dropping off donations to be delivered 1,447 miles to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D., where hundreds are protesting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP).

The proposed 1,100-mile, $3.7-billion oil pipeline, being built by Energy Transfer Partners, began construction this spring. It will stretch from North Dakota to Illinois, bringing crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to existing pipelines in Illinois, where it can be distributed to Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast markets.

Unlike the more well-known TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, which President Obama rejected in November 2015, the DAP does not cross an international border and therefore does not require approval by President Obama.

Pipeline proponents say DAP will reduce the use of rail and truck transportation for the oil and allow more efficient distribution of the Bakken oil reserves for domestic use. They also say it will create 8,000 to 12,000 local construction jobs and generate more than $100 million in property and sales taxes in the four states where it will be located.

Leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes are uniting against the pipeline project, which they say will contribute more fossil fuels to climate change and will endanger the people and the environment along the pipeline’s route. Tribal members from across the country are joining the Sioux in protest. Hundreds have gathered in camps along the Missouri River and at an encampment in Cannon Ball, N.D., where the protesters gathered in such numbers that they were able to temporarily stop construction of the pipeline. Hundreds more rallied in late August in Washington, D.C., outside the U.S. District Court .

Various families from across the valley donated items to be taken to Cannon Ball, ND in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The protesters are in need of food and water supplies, as well as funding. To support the tribal members protesting in North Dakota, SRPMIC members Adolph Soliz Sr. and Stephanie Burns-Soliz, along with friends from the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders, organized the donation drive. Soliz and a relative made the journey to North Dakota to deliver all donated items a day after the donation drive.

The DAP had been expected to start transporting oil by the end of this year. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the pipeline. The judge is expected to render a decision on the injunction on Sept. 9. If approved, the injunction will formally stop construction of DAP and give tribes time to make a case in court that the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Since we can’t make the journey up [to North Dakota] and help, at least we’re helping this way. [We’re] getting what [donations] we can, so that helps,” said Alyssa Longie, who joined with her daughter Isabel Anderson to donate various items. Both are from Devils Lake, N.D.

“I think that [the pipeline protest] is a good thing. When I think about it, I think about our children. It’s for them, and I think it’s history in the making. We’re all brothers and sisters, so we’ve got to stand as one,” said Community member Melissa Thomas, who showed her support by donating various items.

For information on the DAP, its construction and route, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakken_pipeline. For information on the protest effort, visit http://rezpectourwater.com.