A coalition of tribal communities, ranchers, farmers, Canadian First Nations, environmental groups and communities along the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route announced the Reject and Protect action in Washington, D.C.
The action will begin with a the arrival of activists on horseback on April 22, which is Earth Day, and it will culminate with a march on April 27.
An announcement of the event from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance — a group of tribal communities, farmers and ranchers united to stop the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — was in a letter organizers sent to hundreds of thousands of activists.
The Reject and Protect campaign is endorsed by a number of groups, whose leaders issued statements of support. They include:
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader among the Dakota, Lakota, Nakota people: “Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of mankind. Do you think that the creator would create unnecessary people in a time of danger? Know that you are essential to this world. The biggest cancer spreading upon Mother Earth is the tar sands.”
Tom Genung, Nebraska Landowner: “As a land owner and a pipeline fighter, it is an honor and privilege to stand together with tribal brothers and sisters. It is our duty to protect the sacred for the seven generations to come. We stand together as one people working together to help President Obama take measures for clean environmental decisions which includes denial of TransCanada’s permit which has no legal route in our great state of Nebraska.”
Chief Reuben George, Tsleil-Waututh: “One thing I can say right off the bat is that we are winning. When we come together like this, we become stronger. There is no price for our water and lands. The lessons we receive from Mother Earth is to become better human beings. We give back to the earth and the land. The pipelines do not do that. We are going to win!”
Hilton Kelley, founder and director of Community In-Power and Development Association: “The people living on the Gulf of Mexico in the City of Port Arthur, TX and Houston, TX are disproportionately impacted by refinery and chemical plant emissions. A large number of our residents at this present time are suffering from respiratory issues, cancer and liver and kidney disease, If the tar sands material is piped into our community for refining at the neighboring plants, there will be a serious increase in the emission levels into the very air we breathe. Our state government has not been much help in supporting our efforts to reduce the toxins in our air; we most certainly hope that we can depend on our federal Government to protect those in the low income and people of color communities as well as all others.”
Bill McKibben, 350.org founder: “It was native people and Nebraska ranchers that really started this battle, and so it’s so fitting that they’re the ones leading this last appeal to the president to do the right thing. We’ve gone wrong in this country before when we didn’t listen to its original inhabitants; let’s hope Keystone becomes the opportunity to show we’re wising up.”
Faith Spotted Eagle, Yankton Sioux: “We are writing a new history by standing on common ground by preventing the black snake of Keystone XL from risking our land and water. We have thousands of Native sacred sites that will be affected adversely. The Americans facing eminent domain now know what it felt like for us to lose land to a foreign country. There is no fairness or rationale to justify the risk of polluting our waterways with benzene and other carcinogens. Native people are ready to speak for the four-leggeds and the grandchildren who cannot speak for themselves. The answer is no pipeline.”
Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director: “The April 27 ’Reject and Protect’ march will focus on the communities on the front line of the Keystone XL tar sands fight. Dirty tar sands threaten our climate, and they threaten the health and well-being of the people who live along the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route. For these families, nothing short of their water, land, and their children’s safety is at stake. The Sierra Club is proud to stand with these communities and call on President Obama to reject dirty and dangerous tar sands once and for all.”
Roger Milk, Rosebud Sioux: “This just isn’t an Indian thing. We all drink the same water.”
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska executive director: “Tribal and ranching communities protect our neighbors first and foremost. That is at our core. We will bring our pipeline fighting spirit to Washington, DC in order for President Obama to see our faces so he knows he is not making a decision about a line on a map, he is making a decision about our families and our neighbors. The President said he wants to be able to look at his daughters and say ‘yes he did’ do everything he could to combat climate change. We intend to ensure he honors his word.”
Gary Dorr, Nez Perce, Shielding the People media coordinator: “We will Stand the Line.”
Maura Cowley, Energy Action Coalition executive director: “Indigenous communities and ranchers are fighting to stop Keystone XL as a matter of survival, and it’s time that we and President Obama stand with them to stop this dirty and destructive project from ruining their land and water. For too long indigenous communities have encouraged us to look out for future generations and our country has ignored them. This must end with the Keystone decision, nothing short of our future is at stake.”
Becky Bond, CREDO political director: “People literally living on the frontlines of our fight against Keystone XL will be taking their case directly to the president in April. We stand in solidarity with the ranchers and tribes whose lands and waters face imminent danger from the imposition of a dirty pipeline by a foreign oil company. And CREDO joins over 86,000 people who are willing to risk arrest if necessary to back up that solidarity with action.”
On Twitter: #NOKXL