Bemidji, MN – On Thursday, November 8, 2018, United States District Judge Brian Morris, issued a landmark ruling in favor of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and the North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA), and other groups in the litigation to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Judge Morris’s 54-page Order overturns the Trump Administration’s approval of the KXL Pipeline and issues an injunction stopping all construction of the tar sands project. Judge Morris ruled that President Trump violated federal environmental laws when his Administration claimed that the KXL Pipeline was consistent with the public interest. Judge Morris ruled that approval of the KXL Pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), and the Administrative Procedure Act because: (1) President Trump disregarded prior factual findings by former Secretary of State John Kerry that the KXL Pipeline would unjustifiably worsen climate change, (2) failed to conduct an adequate survey of Native American cultural resources that would be harmed by the pipeline, (3) failed to provide adequate modeling of potential oil spills and their impacts on water resources, (4) failed to analyze the cumulative effects of this project on greenhouse gas emissions, and (5) failed to address the effects of current oil prices on the viability of the project.
The following quotes are from members of the Indigenous Environmental Network:
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director for the Indigenous Environmental Network said
, “This is a win for Lakota, the Oceti Sakowin and other Tribal Nations, for the water, and for the sacredness of Mother Earth. This decision vindicates what we have been saying all along: Trump’s approval of this pipeline was illegal, violated environmental laws and was based upon false facts. Our legal fight has been for the benefit of all life along the proposed route of this Canadian tar sands pipeline. This pipeline is the enemy of the people, the climate, and life as we know it. It must be stopped. We will continue our prayers to take action to fight the Trump administration in defense of the sacred, to protect Indigenous rights, to defend our treaty territories and to advocate for the continuation of the next seven generations of life on Mother Earth free from fossil fuels.”
Joye Braun, IEN Frontline Community Organizer, Cheyenne River Sioux Nation said, “We have fought this pipeline tooth and nail and it’s a great affirmation to hear Judge Morris agree with us. President Trump’s permit was utterly illegal and against the proper procedure. For our people, it has always been a matter of no: No Consent, No Pipeline. We will continue to fight for our sovereignty as nations, our cultural and historic sites, for the safety of our people from man camps and for the sacred medicine that is the water. We will fight and we will win.”
Waniya Locke, People Over Pipelines, Grassroots Of Standing Rock said, “One of Trump’s first presidential acts was to approve the Dakota Access pipeline, subsequently inflicting violence upon our peaceful people. I am happy to see that Trump is being held accountable, that his approval of Keystone XL is being reversed and that he will have to reevaluate the effects of this pipeline on the land and culturally significant sites. It’s incredible. From the open prairies to the courtrooms, our ancestors and sacred sites are protecting us.”
Lewis Grassrope, Wiconi un Tipi Camp in Lower Brule, South Dakota said
, “Through our prayers, we stood for the greater good of our people. Today one of those prayers has been answered with this decision on Keystone XL, but we must still stay the course to keep our people safe from any atrocious acts that affect our lives and livelihoods.”
Manape LaMere, Government Rep of the Sioux Nation of Indians and Bdewakantowan Isanti Headsmen said
, “Supporting one another post-Standing Rock and bringing awareness throughout our territory, we’ve dealt a big blow to the Trump administration. We continue to pray and set those prayers in motion thru action, that this KXL project remains in its death throes, until we can truly claim final victory.”
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network said, “This decision is a battle victory in the fight to mitigate climate change and to slow the expansion of the tar sands region in northern Alberta, Canada. We are excited to see that the Trump administration has been ordered to evaluate the effects this dirty tar sands pipeline will have on greenhouse gas emissions, and we can only speculate how the President’s climate-denying cabinet will respond. Until then, we remain vigilant and hopeful that this project will be ultimately defeated.”