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Called To Act - September 2016

Updated: Jul 9, 2018

Called to Act - September 2016

New York Algonquin Pipeline Resisters Stand in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Demonstrators in North Dakota

Yesterday I participated in a White Plains solidarity vigil with the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is proposed to transport 450,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil (which is fracked and highly explosive) from the lands of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The threats this pipeline poses to the environment, human health and human rights are strikingly similar to those posed by the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the State Department and the President condemned and stopped.

​Wednesday’s rally linked the Dakota Pipeline Resistance with the resistance to all proposed fracked gas pipelines. The AIM (Spectra Algonquin) Pipeline Expansion Pipeline, which is planned to run next to the Indian Point nuclear power plant, is being built by the same company as the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The rally, sponsored by WESPAC Foundation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center for Earth Ethics, Resist Spectra Pipeline, Friends of Turtle Island Committee-WESPAC, was inspired by the desire to stand in solidarity with the thousands of indigenous demonstrators in Standing Rock who are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The speakers at the rally included Betty Lyons of the Onondaga Nation and president of the American Indian Law Alliance, Kerenna Gore, Director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and local Westcheser County residents who recently traveled to the Sacred Stone Camp in Lakota Territory, North Dakota. The Peace Poets and others led us in songs inspiring us to take action.

NY did ban fracking, but we’re still resisting fracking infrastructure projects within the state as well as across the nation. More and more pipelines are being proposed and constructed to support the fossil fuel industry at the expense of the creation of sustainable energy. Our demonstration shouted NO to a Fracked Gas Infrastructure.

Gov. Cuomo stopped the Constitution Pipeline, which threatened to turn streams, fields and forests in Central New York and the Catskills into an industrial corridor, endangering our water quality and public health.

We are now pushing the governor to stop the AIM pipeline, and we are calling on the Cuomo Administration to conduct a thorough examination of the risks of the Pilgrim Pipelines, a proposed set of oil & petroleum products pipelines that threaten the health and safety of New York communities. In collaboration, the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope and Sparkill, joined  faith institutions, civic groups, businesses, political clubs  and community based agencies and organizations in signing the petition to stop the Pilgrim Pipeline

The Standing Rock Sioux, indigenous communities and concerned North Dakotans have been standing strong in recent weeks, blocking construction on the Dakota Access Bakken pipeline. This project is being pushed through ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux and the Missouri River, which is a major source of water for the community. Oil pipelines are inherently dangerous and threaten communities and the environment with leaks and explosions.

Last Saturday the police brought in a private company to use attack dogs and mace to chase the demonstrators away, but in the end it was the Pipeline trucks that left. Twenty seven graves have already been dug up in Dakota, and on Tuesday 23 demonstrators, medics, and journalists were arrested. The Indigenous families cannot understand how their holy lands and ancestral grave sites could be destroyed in the quest for oil profits – for money!

In addition to the pollution of the environment (and everything in it including us) and the desecration of sacred land, these oil and gas projects bring outside workers to the area. Some of these workers have brought violence to the native people: their children go missing, their women are raped, etc. with no consequences for the perpetrators.

Now the National Guard has joined the state police who have become more militarized and are wearing riot gear and carrying long range assault weapons.

Thousands of native families are gathering at Standing Rock to protest the desecration of their sacred land.  Imagine how we would feel if Catholic holy sites were bulldozed to make way for a pipeline.  They are gathered to protect Mother Earth. Their concern is that the seventh generation yet to come will have to live with the decisions we make today.

Food and Water Watch says “We don't need any more pipelines. We don't need any more fossil fuel extraction. We don't need any more fracking. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and we need an urgent and just transition to 100% renewable energy.” Please sign their petition asking President Obama to protect the sacred lands of the Siouz Nation and our air and water by rejecting the Dakota Bakken pipeline:  Click here: President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access Bakken Pipeline! - Food & Water Watch

Sister Ceil Lavan, O.P.


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