Leonardo DiCaprio Stands With Great Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

Leonardo DiCaprio is heavily campaigning against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction.

Proposing a $3.7 billion, 1,168 mile pipeline, Dakota Access – a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP have planned for the project to stretch through the North Dakota Bakken region, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois, transferring up to 57,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Referred to as the Bakken pipeline, the DAPL would cross the Missouri River in a region less than a mile from the Standing Rock Reservation. The concern for the Missouri River is that this water source is currently providing water to millions of people in the U.S.

The Sioux people of Standing Rock are trying to highlight the potentials of an oil spill, which could threaten the water and land in their reservation.

DiCaprio tweeted that he was “standing with the Great Sioux Nation to protect their water and lands,” linking this to a Change.org petition which urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to step in and halt the construction altogether. His tweet also contained #KeepItInTheGround, calling for fossil fuels to be kept in the ground.

13 year old Anna Lee Rain YellowHammer stood for the youth of Standing Rock by writing:

“A private oil company wants to build a pipeline that would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation and if we don’t stop it, it will poison our river and threaten the health of my community when it leaks.

My friends and I have played in the river since we were little; my great grandparents raised chickens and horses along it. When the pipeline leaks, it will wipe out plants and animals, ruin our drinking water and poison the center of community life for the Standing Rock Sioux.”

Nearing 46,000 signatures, the petition needs 4,000 more to reach their goal.

Dakota Access claims that their proposed route would reach through 50 countries in four states, commenting that the plan “was carefully designed to transport crude in the safest, most efficient way possible.” However, this hasn’t silenced Native American communities and landowners from protesting against the DAPL construction.

“Oil companies keep telling us that this is perfectly safe, but we’ve learned that that’s a lie: from 2012-2013 alone, there were 300 oil pipeline breaks in the state of North Dakota,”

YellowHammer wrote in her petition.

“With such a high chance that this pipeline will leak, I can only guess that the oil industry keeps pushing for it because they don’t care about our health and safety. It’s like they think our lives are more expendable than others.”

Sadly, Army Corps are currently considering permits which will allow the DAPL to go ahead with construction, reportedly stating that they will make their decision within days. This prompts renewed urgency for all the opponents to stop this project altogether.

Many famous faces have joined forces with these opponents, featuring three stars from the new Justice League film. Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher are all joining DiCaprio on social media, protesting the pipeline.

In his Instagram photo, Momoa holds a sign that states he has signed the Change.org petition and that “oil pipelines are a bad idea.”

“We want to say that our hearts are with the Native youth of the Standing Rock Reservation, and that we oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Miller says in the video, urging viewers to visit Rezpect our Water, which was launched to protest the pipeline.

The 28th of April saw the 500 mile relay Run For Your Life: No DAPL, which spanned from Cannon ball, North Dakota to the Army Corps Omaha District office in Nebraska on the 3rd of May.

“I am doing Run For Your Life: No DAPL because I want the younger generations to know what they are looking forward to in the future if this pipeline comes through,”

lead run coordinator and Standing Rock member said.

“I am running for the whole Oceti Sakowin. I am carrying all their prayers on the road with us. Water is essential to everyday life. Why hasn’t someone even given a thought about the 3 to 4 million people who use our Missouri River water? It is 2016, and here we are fighting our battles, running across the state of South Dakota to show our statement.”

Delivering a unified statement to Colonel John Henderson and the Army Corps in resistance to the planned pipeline, the letter states:

“We write to you as the peoples of this great land, both Native and non-Native, who rely on the Missouri River and our ecosystems for our livelihoods, our communities, and our futures. For a long time, man has behaved as though he has absolute dominion over nature, and now we are beginning to see the effects of what this attitude has done to our world. As global concerns about environmental issues continue to rise, we too are taking a stand out of concern not only for ourselves, but also for the non-human animals in our communities and for the children who shall become a part of nature after we have passed.”

Along with this, they issued a letter of demands that the Army Corps must take before issuing any permit to Dakota Access.

Conduct a full EIS [environmental impact assessment] to determine potential environmental effects of the DAPL.
Address additional concerns regarding environmental justice and emergency response actions to spills/leaks.
Address the potential impact to cultural/historical sites, including native burial grounds.
Address the lack of communication with tribes over the past several months, and remedy this by properly consulting and coordinating with affected tribes.
Apply President Barack Obama’s climate test and determine whether this project serves the national interest by not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.
Concluding that:

“If Dakota Access fails to meet the conditions of any one of these enacted recommendations it stands as a clear indication that it is not a safe and sound project deserving of permitting,”

Ed Fallon met the runners in Omaha, delivering a touching speech about the sad reality behind farmers and landowners feeling helpless when being pressured into signing their hard earned land away for the Bakken pipeline.  Eileen Williamson, spokesperson for the Army Corps Engineers mentioned that they are currently evaluating environmental impacts which may take place during construction.

“For example, if threatened and endangered species is a concern. Let’s say that a proposed crossing and construction schedule could impact nesting of a protected bird,” Williamson told South Dakota public radio. “Then a recommendation would be to ensure that the construction schedule is outside of that nesting period, and that the construction does not affect the habitat that that bird would use for nesting.”

She went on to comment that officials will be required to work within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s set guidelines along with the state Historic Preservation officer and Tribal governments, with the Corps reviewing public comments.

There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We’ll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn’t work we’ll have to ramp up the moderation.”

The general guideline set out should be followed to avoid unnecessary conflict by avoiding personal attacks on other forum members, avoid making ethnically derogatory statements, never advocate violence or illegal activity and keep the protest clean and responsible. This all starts with you, let’s keep working together to make the world a better place to live in.

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