Keystone Pipeline Spill – Official Statement from Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe


Posted By Toyacoyah Brown November 19th, 2017 Blog


Heartbreaking news out of South Dakota yesterday…

As reported by CNN, 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone pipeline.

The spill occurred in the same county as part of the Lake Traverse Reservation. The leak location is not on Sioux property, but it is adjacent to it and has historical value, said Dave Flute, tribal chairman for Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe.



“We want to know how long is it going to take to dig this plume of contaminated soil and how can we be reassured, without a doubt, that it has not and will not seep into the aquifer,” he said.

Flute, along with the tribal emergency management director and the manager of the tribal office of environmental protection, arrived Friday morning at the staging area of the leak site to meet with representatives from TransCanada. Flute said he was out there to offer assistance and to understand the cause of the leak and the environmental impacts it might pose.

“We want to find out, was there a crack in the pipe? We don't know. We want to get that information,” Flute said. “More importantly, and to stay positive, they did clean up the site, they did contain it.”

TransCanada said they were immediately alerted to a pressure drop in the pipeline and this section of Keystone pipe was isolated within 15 minutes.

This doesn't put any of our minds at ease, and a lot of folks are screaming, “Told you so!”

As official statement was releaed from the Office of the Tribal Chairman Dave Flute of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe regarding the oil spill of the TransCanada's Keystone pipeline.

“At this time, the only update I have is that there was a leak in the pipeline. I have been in communications with Trans Canada tribal relations officer and they will keep me updated on the spill and containment. We will share an update later this afternoon.

Right now, on behalf of the tribe, our concerns are the environmental impact this spill may have caused. We need to know, unambiguously, there is no contamination to any water source in the area. Surface and subsurface waters are all interconnected in this part of the state and some of those water sources run into and onto our reservation. We have tribal communities in the Enemy Swim, Buffalo Lake and Red Iron areas that are tens of miles away from the site, and they are our greatest concern at this time. We have pristine lakes and streams, and underground aquifers that provide water to many tribal members and we need to know this spill has not and will not contaminate our waters.

Finally, on behalf of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, we are offering our assistance if requested, to the local and federal agencies that are working to contain the spill and evaluate the environmental damage it may have caused. Although our tribe opposed the construction of this pipeline, (and other pipelines), we understand it is here, it is what it is, but we are committed to providing help and assistance in any way we can.”

Let's hope this only convinces lawmakers to take a long hard look at current pipeline projects that may be going through their communities and hopefully stop future spills.



About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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