Ruth Hopkins: Keystone XL Pipeline poses a risk to water source

"During a two week sit-in, 1,252 environmentalists, including top climate scientists and indigenous First Nations and Tribal leaders, were arrested in front of the White House while protesting the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. If implemented, the pipeline would run from Canada’s tar sands to Texas oil refineries. One of the most disturbing aspects of this proposed pipeline is that it would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of fresh drinking water for over 20 million Americans living in eight states. While those who want to profit from the pipeline insist that oil leaks would be rare, the original Keystone pipeline and its accompanying pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. One such oil spill took place on the Lake Traverse Reservation, the home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate—the Tribe in which I am enrolled. If an oil spill took place in the Ogallala Aquifer, we could potentially lose that pure, freshwater source forever.

Water is a force of nature, forever moving and changing. We’ve all witnessed its raw power—via storms, floods, tsunamis and hurricanes. Water doesn’t need us, we need it. Protection of our freshwater resources is more important than our national interest, status, cash money, or convenience. Human beings are eternally linked to Earth through water. We cannot live without it. If we fail to protect water, we are dooming future generations to a wasteland of death. We must find a better way, before it’s too late."

Get the Story:
Ruth Hopkins: Water: The Life Giver (Indian Country Today 9/27)

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