Dear Friends, Relatives, Allies,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the first pipes for the Keystone XL pipeline have been put in the ground. Despite ongoing legal battles, TC Energy (aka TransCanada), has ignored the safety of its workers and the surrounding populations during a global pandemic by trying to build as much of the pipeline as it can even without all its permits.

This pipeline will not be built. You can help spread our message by sharing this video of our virtual banner made by Indigenous peoples from across the route saying, “Not Today. Not Tomorrow. Not Ever. No KXL. Mni Wiconi.”

Last month, our ally organizations including Sierra Club, Bold Alliance, and Northern Plains Resource Council celebrated a great victory in its federal lawsuit against Keystone XL.1 Federal Judge Morris not only ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) did not follow the Clean Water Act, but that they had not adequately considered the effects of the pipeline on endangered species, specifically the pallid sturgeon and a rare beetle.

Judge Morris then revoked the ACOE nationwide permit number 12. Because of this ruling, as of right now KXL cannot cross the Missouri River, the Cheyenne River, the Yellowstone River or over 700 other water crossings along its proposed route. The ruling also puts into question other fossil fuel projects nationwide that require the ACOE permit number 12.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Fort Belknap Tribe, and The Indigenous Environmental Network have ongoing lawsuits against the federal government regarding the approval of KXL, arguing that the international border crossing approval was illegal, that it violated treaty rights, and that construction during a global pandemic not only puts communities at risk of COVID-19 infection, but raises the risk of sexual violence perpetrated upon Native women.

There was a court hearing on these lawsuits in April; however, no ruling has been handed down yet. As of this email, we now know that despite the legal challenges, pipe has been laid at the international border crossing between the United States and Canada – even while the drop in tar sands and oil prices makes tar sands inviable. Knowing that TC Energy was losing investment capital, the province of Alberta invested 1.5 billion dollars into the project in an effort to shore up tar sands jobs. However, we know that with continued drop in price – tar sands is a dying industry and this pipeline is truly unneeded.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for signing the Promise to Protect, for going to the trainings, and for your continued support. No one could predict a pandemic globally. Our Native nations have responded with tighter restrictions, each tribe deciding what is best for itself. This is sovereignty. We respect that. We must follow Indigenous leadership and grassroots boots on the ground in our response to KXL during this unprecedented time.

Because of this pandemic, and the threat of spreading this disease to vulnerable populations with few resources, we are not asking you to come in numbers yet. We are asking you to be creative and safe following CDC guidelines and do actions that raise awareness and put pressure on institutions that are funding or protecting this black snake.

Potential pressure points are Chase Bank, the leading tar sands funder that’s also funding KXL, Liberty Mutual who is insuring the pipeline, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney who has put pipelines before people, and the three Governors who could force TransCanada to comply with federal and state permits and conditions: Montana Gov. Bullock, South Dakota Gov. Noem, and Nebraska Gov. Ricketts.

You can also share our most recent video calling attention to recent construction and spreading our message that this pipeline will not be built – not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Follow local grassroots organizations for up to date information including Braveheart Society, Kokipasni, Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective, Ni’Bthaska Stands, Great Plains Action Society, and others on Facebook as well as Indigenous Rising Media for up to date information as it happens on the ground.

Do not be discouraged! We must rise above the despicable actions of TransCanada and be better than they are. We can stop this black snake, this zombie pipeline. We’ve done it before we can again. I have faith in all of you.

Bleciya’po! Take courage!

Joye Braun

Cheyenne River Sioux
Indigenous Environmental Network organizer
Promise to Protect Coalition member

1 – The Guardian

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