For over a week the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has protested the Dakota Access Pipeline by attempting to physically block access to the construction site. But when it came to the state review of the project which began almost two years ago, the tribe was nowhere to be found.
The tribe has argued that the project would threaten their water, land, and heritage, but as the SayAnything Blog notes, none of these concerns were ever raised before the North Dakota Public Services Commission. There were three public sessions including one in Mandan, less than 30 miles from the protest site. Neither Chairman Dave Archambault nor any official representative of his tribe bothered to attend any of the regulatory hearings reviewing the Dakota Access Pipeline project before approval deliberations began.
Even North Dakota Public Services Commissioner Brian Kalk highlighted their absence in a comment to the Bismarck Tribune, “These groups didn’t come to our hearings,’ said Kalk, expressing disappointment that tribal leaders didn’t appear at that time to voice their concerns.”
It doesn’t add up. There was ample opportunity to protest the pipeline through civil discussion, and yet there was no participation by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Now when the project is well on its way through construction do they resort to occupying private property, interfering with lawful construction, or riding horses within feet of the faces of the many state troopers who are trying to keep them safe.