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New Englanders Organize Against Dakota Access Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline is drawing opposition from tribal, justice and peace activists in New England. (E. Zulaski)
The Dakota Access Pipeline is drawing opposition from tribal, justice and peace activists in New England. (E. Zulaski)
February 2, 2017

BOSTON – While the Dakota Access Pipeline is being built thousands of miles away, tribal and social justice activists in New England have been busy this week, organizing and raising funds to protect the water supply from contamination.

Chief Wompimeequin Wampatuck with the Mattakeesett Tribe also is an Indigenous Peoples representative to the United Nations. He says there is plenty to dislike about President Donald Trump's executive order allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline construction to continue.

"Trump's executive action risks contamination – not only for tribal lands, but our country's water supply – human rights violations, and once again disregarding our treaties," he states.

Backers of the 1,700-mile pipeline say it's a safer way to transport crude oil, while opponents point to a long record of leaks by Sunoco Logistics, the future pipeline operator.

Wampatuck spoke at this week's Building a Culture of Peace Forum in Concord, N.H., an event that raised more than $2,500 for pipeline related legal battles.

Long time Cambridge peace activist Cathy Hoffman went to this winter's pipeline protest as an ally of the Standing Rock Sioux, in their long fight to block the pipeline's path through tribal and sacred lands.

"It was an opportunity to be in a community created by Native Americans with a really different set of values, talking about the fact that we are profoundly interconnected to one another, and to the earth, and to the sacredness of water," she relates.

Even though the pipeline will run through the middle of the country, Will Hopkins, director of the New Hampshire Peace Action Education Fund, says there are plenty of reasons for New Englanders to be concerned.

"If you are a believer in science and the scientific method, global warming is something we should be concerned about, if we're going to investing the kind of money and resources it takes to put in a pipeline," he states.

Pipeline supporters maintain it will make the nation energy independent, but Hopkins counters that it will increase dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA