Pipeline infrastructure

Interfaith Power & Light has joined a faith sign-on letter in support of the Standing Rock Sioux, reprinted below the first horizontal divider.

In addition, Philadelphia PA IPL has sent a letter connecting their work on proposed expansion of oil and gas receiving and processing plants with the work that the Sioux Nation and others are doing in North Dakota on the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Reprinted below the second horizontal divider.

PA IPL’s Board Resolution on Fossil Fuel Infrastructure speaks to our work in Pennsylvania, and is relevant to the choices we make about infrastructure in Pennsylvania and well beyond.   

Interfaith Statement of Support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
September 15, 2016

We, a coalition of diverse faith traditions, are united across theological lines by a common moral call to affirm and support the dignity of all people and to care for all of God’s creation. We therefore join with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their efforts to protect their sovereignty, water, culture, lifeways, and sacred sites. They, with so many leaders and peoples of other tribal nations and other supporters, are blocking the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline would send as much as 570,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil across the tribe’s ancestral lands and the Missouri River, the tribe’s major source of water.

We applaud the decision on September 9th by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior, not to authorize construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until the Corps determines whether its previous decisions should be reconsidered at the site under applicable federal laws. We are also grateful for the Administration’s commitment to formal consultation with the tribal nations on measures to ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights. We too urge peaceful relations between the peoples at the site that leads to a satisfactory resolution.

We hope that the Corps’ review of all applicable laws includes environmental as well as cultural and historical impacts upon affected tribal nations. We hope the written concerns expressed to the Corps prior to its permit approval of the pipeline, by the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and American Council on Historic Preservation are duly considered.

We call upon all parties to recognize and account for significant overarching factors within this controversy, including the degree of adequacy of tribal consultation in the past and present of US-tribal relations. We note for example that a central location in this defense of tribal lands and waters – Lake Oahe – did not even exist until the 1960s, when the federal government created the Oahe dam without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. The dam flooded over 200,000 acres of the tribes’ lands, forcing peoples from their homes, submerging towns, critical natural resources, burial sites, and sacred places.

Further, no pipeline is immune to leaks. In May 2016, an estimated 120,000 gallons of oil & wastewater leaked from a pipeline near the city of Marmarth, North Dakota. 300 oil pipeline breaks occurred in the state in 2012–2013 alone. In January 2015, over 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana. Even with new pipeline construction technology, this could happen across the 1,172 miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Finally, our faith traditions call for action to address the urgent challenge of climate change. The well-being and future of all peoples depend upon our willingness to transition justly and quickly away from fossil fuels and towards carbon free alternatives.

Therefore, we stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, other tribal nations and indigenous peoples in support of their children, their tribal sovereignty, natural resources, cultural heritage and sacred places. We applaud the federal government’s decision to halt pipeline construction on Corps land until more thorough reviews of applicable laws and adequacy of tribal consultation are conducted. We pray for a peaceful resolution that brings forth a new and more equitable chapter for tribal nations, and a just transition towards a carbon-free future.

With hope and prayers for our shared future,
Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America
Disciples Peace Fellowship
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Green Chalice, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Interfaith Power & Light
InterReligious Task Force on Central America
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Extended Justice Team
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

Chairman Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council
P.O. Box D
Fort Yates, ND 58538

September 8, 2016

Honorable Chairman and Councilmembers:

The Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is a community of congregations, faith-based organizations and individuals of faith responding to climate change as a moral issue, through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy. Our prayers are with you.

As people of faith, we want to express our undying gratitude to you for standing on the front lines of a struggle that affects us all. As you make a stand to protect the health of your water, you are fighting the same dirty fossil fuel infrastructure that is making our city unsafe and our communities sick.

Throughout our state, communities have been devastated by the impact of fracking on soil, air and water. Already miles of dangerous, dirty oil trains carrying fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields make their way through our city, creating a constant danger of a catastrophic derailment or explosion in our densely populated neighborhoods. The destination of that fracked oil is the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. PES is in constant violation of clean air standards and is causing an asthma epidemic among our children and spreading pollution related diseases among our most vulnerable communities, particularly poor people and people of color.

We are all connected in our love of creation, and in our commitment to environmental, racial, social and economic justice. As you bravely stand to protect your sacred spaces, you are also protecting us. We pledge to work with you to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in its tracks. Your fight is our fight.

In thanksgiving and with blessings,

Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein                                                   Rev. Cheryl Pyrch
Co-chairs, Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light