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Colorado Groups Join National Pipeline Protest

Colorado groups joined a national protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday. (350.org)
Colorado groups joined a national protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday. (350.org)
September 14, 2016

DENVER - Native American and environmental organizations in Colorado joined a national day of action Tuesday in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The groups are urging President Obama to rescind the project's permits and conduct an environmental review.

Glenn Morris, an American Indian Movement activist, recently returned from the North Dakota encampment and said more is at stake than access to clean water.

"This issue is not simply an indigenous peoples' issue, not simply a treaty issue," he said. "It's an issue that really implicates the environmental health of everyone downstream from the pipeline location."

The pipeline would carry more than a half-million barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois, cutting under the Missouri River less than a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux's only source of drinking water and through sacred lands. Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, said in a statement to employees that the pipeline will be safer than rail and trucks for transporting oil.

Last week, after a federal judge denied tribal requests to halt the project, the Obama administration quickly blocked construction until the Army Corps of Engineers can review its original permits. Morris said protesters welcomed the temporary reprieve, but added that the struggle is far from over and groups are collecting supplies to keep the encampment going through the winter.

"I've never seen that kind of unity and solidarity among Native nations," he said. "This movement has really sparked a fire, and it's touching the hearts of people all over the world."

Morris said the Standing Rock camp has drawn more than 3,500 people, where some 200 flags are flying, from tribes in New York, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Northwest, California, Mexico, the Amazon, Hawaii and New Zealand.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO