Chair of WORC Nancy Hartenhoff-Crooks released the following statement today supporting the ongoing protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:
“The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) supports the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to and protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“We stand with Standing Rock in their fight to protect water, tribal sovereignty, landowner rights, human rights, and cultural resources threatened by the present route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“WORC urged the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in January to significantly improve pipeline safety and construction standards to mitigate the possible impacts of pipeline ruptures. Data shows that 60% of pipelines fail within the first 20 years of operation, and a quick response to a leak or spill during crisis by governing bodies and industry officials is unassured.
“Lastly, we support Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II in his steadfast efforts to protect the water and cultural resources of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The current route takes the pipeline less than one-half mile from the tribe’s reservation border, and sites of spiritual and cultural significance exist along the pipeline path. For these reasons, WORC also supports the tribe’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the pipeline and undo the approval of the pipeline by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
Two of WORC’s member groups, Dakota Rural Action (South Dakota) and Dakota Resource Council (North Dakota), have adopted resolutions opposing the pipeline. A third member group, Western Native Voice, has issued a statement supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.