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Presiding Bishop steps up support for Sioux over pipeline protest

Posted on: September 20, 2016 12:56 PM
Part of the 1,172-mile 30-inch Dakota Access Pipeline, seen here between farms in New Salem, North Dakota. The Sioux people of Standing Rock are protesting against part of the pipeline’s route through ancient burial grounds and underneath the Missouri River.
Photo Credit: Tony Webster / Flickr

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A temporary injunction to prevent construction of a controversial pipeline through indigenous burial grounds has been imposed by a US federal appeals court. The injunction – which covers construction within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe – will give the court more time to consider whether a permanent injunction should be imposed. The indigenous American Sioux group at the nearby Standing Rock reservation are protesting against the construction. They have the support of the US-based Episcopal Church and also the neighbouring Anglican Church of Canada.

In addition to its route through ancient burial grounds, the Sioux are concerned about the pipeline’s path under the Missouri River – something they say could cause catastrophic pollution to their water supply should it leak.

The Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, will spend two-days with the Sioux people at Standing Rock this weekend “in a show of support and advocacy,” the Episcopal Church said in a statement. He will be accompanied by the Bishop of South Dakota, John Tarrant.

He will visit the Big Camp near Cannon Ball, meet public and regional officials, and lead a public forum at Sacred Stone Camp. He will also preach and preside at a worship service at St James’ Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.78 billion USD (approximately £2.90 billion GBP) infrastructure project that will transport around 450,000 barrels of domestically produced light sweet crude oil per day from the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, through a 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipe. It will have a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day.

Bishop Curry first announced his support for the Sioux protests in August, when he said: “We are called to do our part to urge decision makers to recognise and honour the efforts to protect the sacred water and burial grounds threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline. . . A rupture in its infrastructure could wreak untold havoc on the Sioux and catastrophically pollute the Missouri River, a sacred tributary that the Sioux people depend upon for their daily water.

“I stand with the people of Standing Rock in their efforts to respect and protect the Missouri River. We know that the right to clean water is an internationally recognized human right and that all too often indigenous communities, other people of colour, and our most vulnerable communities throughout the world are the ones most at risk of losing access to clean water.”