The following editorial segment from Andrea Carmen and Roberto Borrero of the International Indian Treaty Council was originally published on Indian County Media Network. Read the full piece here.
Statement by the International Indian Treaty Council: Just two weeks after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order and two memorandums paving the way to expedite the permitting of extractive projects such as the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, the U.S. Department of the Army announced it would grant the final easement needed to finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a court filing Tuesday, February 7, 2017.
These fast tracked actions led by the new U.S. President and supported by the Republican majority display a flagrant disregard for the federal legal process already engaged in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, cutting short its publically stated intent to conduct a full environmental impact assessment and the public comment period associated with it.
Given Trump’s campaign statements and his personal financial ties to the fossil fuel industry, as well as his apparent disdain and/or lack of awareness for both federal and international human rights law, his pronouncements, while shocking and heart wrenching in their utter callousness, were not unexpected. These actions, along with the appointment of the former CEO of Exxon Oil, responsible for the oil spill that devastated Indigenous Peoples in the coastal areas of Alaska in 1989, as the Secretary of State, are an ominous foreshadowing of the shape of things to come.
Undaunted by these recent developments, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) quickly responded to the Army’s announcement Tuesday, denouncing the Administration’s continued defiance of the law. The SRST also vowed to vigorously pursue a legal challenge. Consistent with our previous statement by the International Indian Treaty Council in support of the SRST, it is our position that these actions taken by the President ignore both federal and international law to which the U.S. is obligated, including its legally-binding commitments under the Treaties concluded with the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota (“Great Sioux Nation”). The International Indian Treaty Council again asserts that President does not have the legal or moral authority to violate the U.S. Constitution, which states “treaties are the supreme law of the land.”
These Executive Orders and memorandums, as well as others issued recently and recklessly by Trump, must continue to be challenged as they will have far-reaching and detrimental affects on the environment, human rights defenders, and Indigenous Peoples overall, within and outside the United States.