An Oberlin group is showing solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux to prevent an oil pipeline being built near the tribe’s ancient burial grounds in North Dakota.
Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy, which is protesting the proposed NEXUS natural gas pipeline here at home, sent a $100 check to tribe chairman Dave Archambault II, said group leader John Elder.
“We honor your continued resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that threatens the water of Lake Oahe and the communities downstream in the Missouri River valley,” Elder wrote in a letter to Archambault. “We also sympathize with your efforts to protect your sacred sites, recognizing that neighboring tribes and indeed indigenous peoples from around the world have come together with you to affirm the right of First Nations to maintain their heritage against the encroachment of profit-seeking corporations.”
Energy Transfer, the company building the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline, says it will exceed federal safety standards.
However, the Sioux and other tribes and demonstrators — they refer to themselves as protectors, not protestors — say a spill could contaminate their water supply.
Fourteen people were arrested trying to delay construction Saturday, according to Democracy Now, a national radio and news website. Video showed company dogs biting demonstrators and demonstrators being pepper-sprayed during a Sept. 8 protest, drawing national attention to the resistance.
Elder said the peaceful protest is an inspiration to his group. It says the NEXUS pipeline, which would carry fracked gas through Lorain County, violates Oberlin’s anti-fracking ordinance and could endanger residents in the event of an explosion.
He sees parallels between the North Dakota and Oberlin protests in terms of residents right to local control.
Elder also said natural gas and oil pipeline construction delays efforts to build renewable energy sources and prevent catastrophic climate change. He hopes the local and North Dakota protests will encourage the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider whether allowing more pipeline construction makes long-term economic sense.
“Are we putting in infrastructure for a dying industry?” Elder asked. “How much of that do we need during the transition period to the renewable era?”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter