By Alfred Walking Bull
ROSEBUD, S.D. – In response to Sen. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) recent press release characterizing President Barack Obama’s decision to deny the controversial Keystone XL a permit as pandering to anti-pipeline extremists, Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux issued the following statement to Thune:
“Dear Hon. Senator John Thune,
“I write this letter on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and in response to your press release of January 18, 2012, entitled, ‘President Rejects Keystone Pipeline, Chooses Re-Election over American Jobs.’
“Your press release states, ‘In rejecting the job-creating Keystone XL Pipeline, President Obama today chose to try and save his own job by pandering to his anti-pipeline environmental extremist voting bloc, over creating jobs for thousands of Americans.’
“The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has opposed both the TransCanada Pipeline and the TransCanada XL Pipeline based upon Tribal Treaty Rights guaranteed by the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, protection of grave sites and sacred sites, (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C. Section 3001 et. sex., Pub. L. 101-601), protection of cultural, religious and historical sites, (National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 16 U.S.C. Section 470 et. seq., Pub. L. 89-665), protection of the Oglala Aquifer from contamination of potential catatstrophic contamination, and protection of our lands and waters on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe aboriginal treaty lands from desecration from tar sands sludge spills.
“The previous TransCanada pipeline crossing eastern North and South Dakota has had fourteen spills in North Dakota resulting in over 21,000 gallons spill of tar sands sludge. Tar sands sludge is sixteen times more toxic than crude oil.
“The possible catastrophe to clean and safe drinking water and our land and natural resources is far greater than any short term benefit in a brief spike in construction jobs. In addition, the forecasts of additional property tax windfalls have fallen short by one-third of the original estimates.
“I take great offense in your statement lumping the interests of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, interests that have been recognized in treaties, federal statutes and upheld in federal courts, into the same category as the “anti-environmental extremist voting bloc.” Unlike the environmental special interest groups you referenced in your letter, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe with the right to make our own rules and be governed by them.
“A copy of our letter will be sent to local and state media outlets and newspapers, including the Rapid City Journal, Lakota Country Times, and Todd County Tribune.
“Please respond to my letter and clarify your statements and apologize to the people of the Rosebud SIoux Tribe and to the other members of the Tribal Nations in South Dakota.
“Please call if you have any questions.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe”
Bordeaux issued the statement this afternoon and there has been no comment from Thune’s office.