NCAI Releases Public Comments Submitted to U.S. Department of State on Keystone XL Pipeline

Published on May 02, 2013

Draft Environmental Impact Statement doesn’t address potential impact to tribal water resources, sacred places, and lacks plans for emergency response coordination with tribes

Washington, DC - The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has released comments submitted by the organization the week of April 22, 2013 to the U.S. Department of State in response to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) For the KEYSTONE XL PROJECT Applicant for Presidential Permit: TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP released on March 1, 2013. The responding documents includes a letter from NCAI and fourteen pages of comments, including Google Earth Maps showing the proximity of the pipeline to tribal nations and natural resources. 

In the letter, NCAI outlines the organization’s concerns and absence of vital information regarding vulnerabilities and potential impact of the pipeline on tribal nations:

“While grateful for the opportunity to submit these comments, it is with great concern that NCAI submits our comments related to the proposed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the DSEIS. NCAI has a number of environmental impact concerns, which are detailed in these comments, and is calling on the U.S. Department of State to adequately address and mitigate these concerns pursuant to requirements established by Executive Order 13175 for consultation with tribal governments.

The following are points of concern offered by NCAI:

1.)    Potential Environmental Impacts to Tribal Natural Resources, Water Quality, and Water Supply Systems;
a.      Surface Water and Groundwater Impacts Identified by the DSEIS
b.      Threats to Tribal Water Systems & Water Quality: Major Waterbody Crossings
         i.      Missouri River Crossing - Fort Peck Tribes of Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes = Milepost(MP)  # 89.6
         ii. Cheyenne River Crossing - Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe – MP #430.07

c.       Threats to Tribal Water Systems: The Mni Wiconi Rural Water System

2.)    Potential Impacts to Native American Sacred Places;

3.)    Concerns with Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan and Emergency Response Plan Sections

4.)    Consultation With and Opposition by Tribal Governments”

Additionally the letter goes on to state:

“As a result of the findings included in our comments, NCAI is calling on the U.S. Department of State, to include in the final version of the SEIS critical information pertaining to tribal nations that is missing in the DSEIS. Noting that further consultation is required and ongoing by the federal government, the U.S. Department of State should engage in further consultation immediately pursuant to Executive Order 13175.

In total, if these concerns are not addressed sufficiently or mitigated to the fullest extent, it is in the best interest of the United States to reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit solely on the basis of the federal trust responsibility to tribal nations. The project as outlined in the DSEIS poses tremendous risks to the cultural and natural resources of tribal nations and is not in the best interest of the tribal nations and their citizens.

The United States has treaty and trust responsibilities to protect tribal lands from hazards and threats posed to tribal nations and non-Native citizens, which will also be impacted by the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The entire comments can be downloaded here.


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