Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline at the Coharie Tribe's powwow in North Carolina. Photo: Star Jacobs
Environment | National

Another pipeline affecting tribal communities heads toward final approval

A natural gas pipeline that would run through North Carolina and Virginia has an unusually disproportionate impact on tribal communities.

In a letter published in the journal Science, professor Ryan Emanuel notes that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline affects nearly 30,000 Native Americans. He drew the data from the draft and final versions of the project's environmental impact statement, which includes a breakdown of the racial and ethnic populations along the 600-mile route.

“Our ancestors are buried all up and down parts of eastern North Carolina, and so these are really sacred places to my people, the Lumbee, and to all the other tribes that are impacted by this project,” Emanuel, who is a citizen of the Lumbee Tribe, told WUNC.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the pipeline affects 9 state- and federally-recognized tribes in North Carolina and 12 state- and federally-recognized tribes in Virginia. It also impacts the territories of another 12 federally-recognized tribes, whose ancestors were forced to leave their homelands in North Carolina and Virginia by the United States.

Following the release of the final EIS on July 21, the FERC has 90 days to make a decision on the pipeline, ThinkProgress reported. Emboldened by the #NoDAPL movement, tribal citizens are thinking about ways to resist.

“We want to make sure this is done as peacefully as possible. We want to exhaust all legal methods before we have to get out there on foot and protest,” Fix Cain of the Coalition of Woodland Nations Against ACP told ThinkProgress.

Data about the Native populations along the pipeline route can be found in Appendix U of Volume III - Part 2 of the final EIS. Lists of tribes who were contacted during the review process can be found in Appendix V of the same volume.

According to FERC, "environmental justice populations would not be disproportionately affected" by the pipeline.

Read More on the Story:
Opponents Say Pipeline Would Disproportionately Affect Native Tribes (WUNC 7/25)
This massive natural gas pipeline will run right through Native American communities (ThinkProgress 7/26)