New Information:Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

Lakota Law

 

You may recall that, in late March, the Standing Rock, Oglala, Yankton, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes won a key round in their legal battle against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). In a reversal of his prior decision, D.C. District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled that the pipeline hadn’t undergone proper environmental review. Though logic would dictate a subsequent cease to DAPL’s operations, Boasberg hasn’t taken that step. That’s why, last week, the Lakota Law team joined an Earthjustice-led effort and submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief to the judge, a strong legal argument that the oil flow must stop immediately.

Lakota Law
For a comprehensive picture of the history of DAPL and current legal landscape, check out our in-depth blog, which also features our television ad targeted to the D.C. market in 2017 arguing for a full Environmental Impact Statement.

It’s not complicated. Because Boasberg’s latest decision voids the easement granted for DAPL, it should no longer be permitted to carry oil, at least until we’ve seen an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act. We’ve been arguing for a proper EIS since the beginning, recognizing that — given the oil company’s horrendous safety track record — it may be impossible to produce.

As you know, the Obama administration agreed that a comprehensive review was needed in late 2016, shutting down construction as thousands cheered at Standing Rock during the #NoDAPL protests. Sadly, everything changed when Trump took office. One of his first executive orders fast-tracked the pipeline without the EIS. Then, when Standing Rock took legal action, Judge Boasberg cited an exception in the law allowing construction despite known, potential hazards.

Boasberg’s latest ruling has changed the game again, this time in our favor. In our brief, LPLP Chief counsel Daniel Sheehan argues that if the oil flow doesn’t stop now, the Court will send a perilous message that litigation against the government is “meaningless and tantamount to a bait and switch designed to fool those naïve enough to believe that the rule of law still has efficacy.”

We’re not alone. Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee have also joined U.S. senators including Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren to submit a powerful amicus brief. Their legal argument was prepared by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, both of whom met face-to-face with our team in recent months.

We are aligned with powerful people, and the support you have shown to the Lakota means we can keep fighting nonstop to cancel pipelines and forward justice. The tide may be turning. I hope that if you stay with us, we can bring additional legal victories — and safety — back to our homelands.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for your friendship and your support,

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project

COVID-19 in Indian Country

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/indian-country-s-covid-19-syllabus-EiN-p5Q-XkW-smnaebJV6Q

Indian Country’s COVID-19 SyllabusIndian Country COVId

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYNYZAte-CmyBa31qWk7Fc1M3q0LNk0FzGHdMPN9BvBOAIeQ/viewform

COVID-19 Cases in Indian Country
Indian Country Today needs your help to gather positive COVID-19 cases and deaths related to COVID-19 in your tribal community.

INSTRUCTIONS: Let us know if there are any confirmed positive COVID-19 cases or deaths related to COVID-19 in your tribal nation or announced by your tribal nation. Please fill out this Google Form as complete as you can. Once we receive your response, we follow up with the tribal or health official to confirm the cases.

Take a look at Indian Country’s COVID-19 syllabus where you can find the COVID-19 tracker, stories, roundtables, op-eds and more: https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/indian-country-s-covid-19-syllabus-EiN-p5Q-XkW-smnaebJV6Q.

New Map Available

Pueblo Map

A former official from Acoma Pueblo and the All Pueblo Council of Governors contacted me asking for a map of the Puebloan Peoples. So as requested, please find it below! This map shows all modern, occupied Pueblos as well as many of the ones that were unoccupied shortly after the arrival of the Spanish.
The Pueblo people united in 1680 under leader Pope to remove all Spanish people from their communities. Twelve years later the Spanish returned – this time with more humility.
Feel free to check out the link or purchase here:
Tribal Nations Maps | PO Box 140252, Broken Arrow, OK 74014

Continued Vigilance Needed

https://teespring.com/stores/gallery-no8

Greetings again from Bear Soldier District on Standing Rock Nation. I thank you for your dedicated action on behalf of the people here. You’ve sent almost 13,000 emails to the nearly all-white McLaughlin City Council and the town’s mayor telling them to suspend utility shut-offs during the COVID-19 pandemic. And more than one of you made anonymous donations to my son’s family, making it possible for him, his wife, and my grandchildren to return to their home. That’s huge. We know the city is feeling the pressure.

Unfortunately, their reaction has been to circle the wagons. Knowing that increased Native representation at City Hall could make all the difference in fair treatment of the town’s tribal people, they are resorting to what we believe are brazenly illegal means to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here’s what I mean: a mayoral election is coming up on June 9, and my nephew, Hoksila White Mountain, is a promising candidate. A recent graduate of Sitting Bull College with a BA in social work, Hoksila has life experience and growing support from our Native community. He has already been working hard to remedy the utility shut-off problem.

Hoksila White Mountain
Hoksila White Mountain is being blocked from running for mayor by McLaughlin City Hall.

But now, City Hall has struck him from the ballot. They say they heard through the grapevine he didn’t follow a provincial law requiring him to collect petition signatures himself to enter the race. In fact, he did two separate rounds of signature gathering specifically to meet the standard. Our research tells us he followed all the rules, and yet he was still removed.

Thankfully, our partnership with the Lakota People’s Law project — and with you — could make all the difference. If necessary, the Lakota Law team will take legal action to get Hoksila back into the election.

Please stay tuned, because we’re also investigating which state and/or federal agencies can provide oversight — and we will share an opportunity soon to contact those agencies directly. Together, we are on the verge of creating significant change here in Bear Soldier. With your continued pressure, we’ll ensure that Native people can run for elected office anywhere at Standing Rock.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for helping us change lives for the better!

Robert White Mountain
via the Lakota People’s Law Project

Important Online Meeting!

https://350org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LUAGAezKT6-xZvgneKG9Og

Organize to Win in 2020
Description

We’re hosting an urgent call to provide updates on the status of Keystone XL, what we’re doing to fight back in the midst of COVID-19, and how we can win in November.

Sign up below to join our call on Thursday, May 14th at 8pm ET/5pm PT to hear from Bill McKibben, key partners, and members of the 350.org team about what’s next.

If you can, please have some paper and a marker or pen available to participate in a quick activity during the call.

Time

May 14, 2020 07:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Regarding Vital Checkpoints!

We have a potentially explosive situation at the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Reservations. If you’ve been looking at the news, you may have seen that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has threatened our tribes with legal action because we have taken the rational step of setting up COVID-19 checkpoints on roads entering our homelands.

Native communities have the right to protect ourselves from the spread of disease, and the law is on our side. You can help. Email Kristi Noem right now and tell her to walk back her threat to Lakota tribes before lives are lost!

Lakota Law
Caption: In our new video, my colleague, Chase Iron Eyes — who serves as public relations director for Oglala president Julian Bear Runner — discusses the urgency of protecting our citizens. (Photo courtesy of Warrior Women Project.)

Governor Noem has failed to mandate common sense protections for tribes and all the people of her state during the COVD-19 pandemic, so the Oglala and Cheyenne River Nations have taken matters into our own hands by setting up these checkpoints on reservation roads to limit the pandemic’s spread.

They are not roadblocks, and there is no truth to Governor Noem’s repeated assertions that essential or emergency traffic is being detained or turned back. Here at Cheyenne River, we are requiring visitors to fill out a health questionnaire or travel through the reservation without stopping. And just yesterday, two more positive cases at Pine Ridge forced a 72-hour lockdown to enable contact tracing and keep folks safe.

Although Governor Noem asserts that the tribes have not engaged in adequate consultation with state officials, both the Oglala and Cheyenne River Nations have interacted with a swath of state agencies on this issue. 17 state senators have now published an open letter declaring that she has no legal authority to regulate activity on reservation roads without tribal consent.

Governor Noem in no position to issue threats. She’s failing to protect her own constituents within our jurisdiction, so we will. This is a life or death situation, and we have a right to live.

Wopila tanka — my gratitude for your action!

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Again: Permit Invalid

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/12/again-finding-us-permit-invalid-federal-court-upholds-block-climate-busting-keystone

 

Published on
by

Again Finding US Permit Invalid, Federal Court Upholds Block on ‘Climate-Busting’ Keystone XL Construction

“Our courts have shown time and time again that the law matters.”

A federal judge on Monday denied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ request to amend his earlier ruling regarding TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline, reaffirming that a permit issued by the Army Corps was invalid.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled again that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued Nationwide Permit 12, which allows companies to construct energy projects at water crossings.

“The court rightly ruled that the Trump administration can’t continue to ignore the catastrophic effects of fossil fuel pipelines like Keystone XL.”
—Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity

Climate action and Indigenous rights campaigners have for years fought the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which if built would cross bodies of water hundreds of times along its nearly 1,200-mile route from Alberta to Nebraska. TC Energy plans to send tar sands oil along the route, which opponents say would put Indigenous communities as well as wildlife at risk for dangerous leaks and exposure to toxic waste.

“The court rightly ruled that the Trump administration can’t continue to ignore the catastrophic effects of fossil fuel pipelines like Keystone XL,” said Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “Constructing pipelines through rivers, streams, and wetlands without analyzing the impacts on imperiled species is unconscionable.”

The USACE had asked Morris to narrow his April 15 ruling, but the judge only changed his decision on Nationwide Permit 12 to allow non-pipeline construction, such as electrical transmission lines, to move forward.

“Our courts have shown time and time again that the law matters,” said Cecilia Segal, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) attorney. “Today’s ruling makes clear that climate-busting pipelines like Keystone XL cannot be built until the federal government does its job and properly analyzes these projects’ devastating effects on their surrounding communities and wildlife. If that analysis is based on science and facts, pipelines like Keystone XL will never see the light of day because they remain, and always will be, a dire threat to our water, wildlife, and climate.”

Indigenous Environmental Network @IENearth

Ft. Peck Assiniboine Sioux Kokipasni youth organizer Prairiedawn has been speaking out against @TCEnergy‘s KXL pipeline because she and her friends are afraid of the increase in man camps bring to Indigenous communities. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/cancel-kxl-halt-all-keystone-xl-construction-due-to-coronavirus-public-health-emergency 

15 people are talking about this

https://indiancountrytoday.com/coronavirus/virus-darkens-prospects-for-solar-wind-projects-t-ygmz5iakSVtpBTDF1Wow?utm_source=maven-coalition&utm_medium=salish&utm_campaign=email&utm_term=notification&utm_content=featured

 

Virus darkens prospects for solar, wind projects

The Associated Press

‘The industry was on a tremendous roll right up until the last month or two. That reversal is stunning and problematic.’

Cathy Bussewitz, John Flesher and Patrick Whittle

Associated Press 

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. renewable energy industry is reeling from the new coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed construction, put thousands of skilled laborers out of work and sowed doubts about solar and wind projects on the drawing board.

In locked-down California, some local agencies that issue permits for new work closed temporarily, and some solar companies furloughed installers.

In New York and New Jersey, SunPower CEO Thomas Werner halted installation of more than 400 residential solar systems, fearing for his workers’ safety.

As many as 120,000 jobs in solar and 35,000 in wind could be lost, trade groups say.

“There are many smaller companies going out of business as we speak,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Up to half our jobs are at risk.”

Leaders are confident the future is bright. But the worldwide slowdown is delaying a transition to cleaner energy that scientists say is not happening quickly enough to curtail climate change.

Even as some states move toward reopening, executives fear diminished incomes and work disrupted by layoffs and social distancing will do lasting damage.

The wind industry is plagued by slowdowns in obtaining parts from overseas, getting them to job sites and constructing new turbines.

“The industry was on a tremendous roll right up until the last month or two,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “That reversal is stunning and problematic.”

Residential solar business has been hit especially hard, Hopper said, with door-to-door sales no longer feasible and potential customers watching their wallets. Deals with commercial buyers also have slumped.

New solar installations could be 17% lower worldwide than expected this year, and wind turbine manufacturing could fall up to 20%, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

“Pre-pandemic, there were great dreams and aspirations for a record-setting year,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy, a utility-scale wind and solar developer. “I’m sure we’re not going to have that.”

Fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal remain the leading providers of the nation’s electricity, with nuclear power another key contributor, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But renewable sources — wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal — have jumped in the last decade as production costs have fallen and many states have ordered utilities to make greater use of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Renewables produced nearly one-fifth of the country’s energy last year.

The EIA predicts renewable energy, despite recent setbacks, will grow 11% this year — an indication of the sector’s strong surge before the economy tanked. Meanwhile, coal-fired power is expected to decline 20% and gas generation to grow just 1%.

The setback for renewable energy still has been painful — even in California, where residential solar demand took off due to frequent blackouts and state laws requiring to new homes to produce as much energy as they consume.

“A lot of companies are just trying everything they can to just limp along and keep their workforce,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association.

All 20 employees were temporarily furloughed at Cinnamon Energy Systems, which sells residential and commercial solar systems in Northern California.

“I’m sure we’ll bounce back, just smaller,” CEO Barry Cinnamon said, adding that people might not spend as much as they once did, because their income will likely be down. “Whether that’s months or years, nobody knows.”

Luminalt, a San Francisco solar company, furloughed most of its 40 employees. And when work resumes, CEO Jeanine Cotter expects that projects will take longer and cost more to keep installers safe.

“Think about working on a roof with a mask,” Cotter said. “And think about not being able to pass a power tool to somebody unless you disinfect it before you pass it on.”

Since his furlough in mid-March, Luminalt solar technician Tom Hicks has been collecting benefits but no salary — and he’s worried about mortgage payments.

“My 401k got crushed by 30% just like everyone else,” said Hicks, 55. “How much time do I have to recover?”

Still, there are hopeful signs. The Boston-based developer Longroad recently began a utility-scale solar project in California and secured new financing for another in Texas.

Sunnova Energy International, a Houston-based residential solar and energy storage service provider, is doing more videoconferencing and fewer in-person dealings with customers. But CEO John Berger said, “Our installations are still moving ahead, service is still moving ahead, we still see customers paying us.”

In eastern Kansas, construction has continued at Southern Power’s 200-megawatt Reading Wind Facility despite delayed parts shipments, company spokeswoman Helen Northcutt White said. Sixty-two turbines are planned for the facility, scheduled to go online in mid-May.

The wind and solar industries have asked lawmakers and federal agencies for help, including an extension of their four-year deadlines for completing projects without losing tax benefits. Similar assistance was granted during the 2008-09 recession.

The renewable energy industry’s health is crucial to improving the climate and to a strong economic recovery, said Matthew Davis, legislative director for the League of Conservation Voters.

“These businesses, these workers deserve immediate relief,” Davis said.

It’s important to push for more responsible energy use as the economy reopens worldwide, said Andrew Pershing, chief scientific officer with Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine, which studies climate change and oceans.

“My hope is that we would use this as an opportunity to build toward an economy that doesn’t depend on burning coal and oil and that is more resilient to the climate impacts that are heading our way,” Pershing said.

___

Flesher reported from Traverse City, Mich. and Whittle reported from Portland, Me.

Tragic News

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/29/coronavirus-andrea-circle-bear-federal-prison-death

I write to you today with sad news that highlights so many of the layers of injustice we face as Native people.

Here at the Lakota People’s Law Project, we’ve seen a lot and worked hard to address a variety of important issues over the past 15 years — among them criminal justice reform for American Indians. Now, in the coronavirus era, this problem has raised its ugly head again: a 30 year-old woman from my tribal nation, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, died in federal custody in a Texas prison on Tuesday, Apr, 21, just three weeks after giving birth. The cause of her death? COVID-19.

Lakota Law
Andrea Circle Bear and her newborn.

How is it that one of our tribal members was taken from my homelands into custody by South Dakota state officials bent on ignoring the threat of coronavirus, and then shipped to a prison in another state that also ignores science — Texas — where she contracted a preventable disease that killed her?

At no point in this process did Andrea have the power to protect herself — an age-old crisis here in Indian Country: lack of sovereignty. Who will someday explain to Andrea’s infant child how and why her mother died in the hands of the enemy?

For a fuller picture of the circumstances surrounding Andrea’s premature and avoidable death, I encourage you to read this chilling article in The Guardian.

Andrea’s tragic story shows why your attention to our Indigenous communities is so important. In the coming days, the Lakota People’s Law Project media team will work with journalists to ensure they have support on the ground as they uncover what happened to Ms. Circle Bear. Moreover, we will redouble our efforts to resist willful ignorance in states like South Dakota and Texas in the face of this pandemic, and we’ll work in every way we can to strengthen tribal nations. We live in poverty and we are vulnerable, but we know how to fight.

Please stay with us. With courage, everything is possible.

Wopila — My gratitude for your solidarity,

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Regarding Sioux Falls

👏 Tell South Dakota: public safety now!
Thu, Apr 23, 2020 4:31 pm
Madonna Thunder Hawk, Lakota Law (info@lakotalaw.org)To:you Details

https://www.lakotalaw.org/our-actions/covid-noem

I hope you’re staying safe! Here in South Dakota, it’s getting crazier by the day. Governor Kristi Noem refuses to implement common sense rules to protect the people of her state — and among those most vulnerable are 72,000 Native people representing nine different tribal nations. Right now, Sioux Falls is home to one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, yet Governor Noem has failed to issue a general stay-at-home order, hasn’t shut down nonessential businesses, and has begun using some of the city’s workers as hydroxychloroquine guinea pigs.

Please send an email to Governor Noem and tell her to stop putting Native American lives at risk. Tell her to issue a shelter-in-place mandate and shut down nonessential businesses right now — including Keystone XL pipeline construction.

Lakota Law
Watch our new video, in which Chase Iron Eyes gives context and Rachel Maddow details the horrific situation in Sioux Falls.

As Standing Rock’s Robert White Mountain recently shared with you, Governor Noem has also failed to issue statewide suspensions of utility shut-offs and evictions, forcing Native families into the streets in sub-freezing temperatures during the pandemic. Her willful ignorance of recommendations by medical professionals puts our tribal nations — where public health infrastructure is already often lacking — in extreme jeopardy. Both Pine Ridge and Standing Rock have positive cases. An uncontrolled spread among our people would be devastating.

Here at Cheyenne River, we’ve taken matters into our own hands by closing off roads into the reservation. So far it is working, but we can’t protect ourselves for long if South Dakota’s chief executive continues taking her queues from Trump.

The White House is largely at fault for inadequate testing and shortages of personal protective equipment. While the president calls to reopen the economy and praises oblivious protesters ignoring social distancing rules, only one percent of the U.S. population has been tested for COVID-19. Experts agree that the pathway to recovery includes testing millions of Americans every day.

Only five states in the country remain without stay-at-home orders, all here in the heartland, all with conservative governors. An extreme outlier and part of a renegade, right-wing movement to ignore science at the expense of (disproportionately Brown and Black) lives, Noem must hear the truth.

In solidarity,

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

P.S. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s failure to protect tribal citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak is a dangerous disgrace! Tell her to shut down nonessential work and to mandate all other necessary precautions today.

 

Lakota People's Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.