DAPL and the BAD MAN Clause

Lakota Law

To make the United States honor treaty law and shut down the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), Standing Rock and our allies are taking a long look at a new legal offensive based on the Bad Man (or Bad Men) Clause in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. Check out our blog, and at the top you’ll find the latest chapter of our Dakota Water Wars video series — co-produced as always by Lakota Law, Standing Rock, and the Great Plains Water Alliance — which takes you inside our recent strategy meeting at Standing Rock.

Watch: I joined Chairwoman Janet Alkire at Standing Rock to address our colleagues about pursuing a more aggressive NoDAPL strategy.

As you’re likely aware, DAPL parent company Energy Transfer has a terrible safety record. Today, we share with you testimony from me, Standing Rock Chairwoman Janet Alkire, Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance Director Doug Crow Ghost, and legal and technical experts. You’ll hear about Energy Transfer’s dangerous behavior, including 23 felony citations, and what we plan to do about it.

The clause states that when “bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States” commit crimes against tribes or our property, the United States must take punitive action against the offenders. Energy Transfer definitely qualifies. To make things worse, DAPL currently operates without a workable emergency response plan in violation of the Clean Water Act, without an easement in violation of the Mineral Leasing Act, and without a valid Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

The government should respect its own rules — including treaties, which are some of the original laws of this land. It’s time to hold Big Oil accountable and stop letting fossil fuel giants endanger our people and our world. Very soon now, after much delay, the Army Corps of Engineers will release DAPL’s deeply problematic EIS. They know that when they do, they’re going to hear from us en masse. Please be ready to act, because this fight isn’t over. Through the courts and public pressure, we can still beat the bad men at their own game.

Wopila tanka — thank you, always, for standing with us!
Phyllis Young
Standing Rock Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

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