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Area residents join fight against Dakota Access pipeline

MARSHALL — Concerned area residents are lending their support to the Standing Rock Water Protectors who are fighting the Dakota Access pipeline.

The $3.8 billion, 1,170-mile natural gas pipeline proposed and mostly completed by Energy Transfer Partners is slated to carry around 470,000 barrels of domestic crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois.

Concerned people say construction would damage sacred lands and any leaks could pollute the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and have set up teepee and tent camps nearby. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has called in the National Guard as well as other police officials.

Marlene Colombe and Misty Butler, both of Marshall, traveled to the Oceti Sakowin camp near Standing Rock Reservation in late September. They went with Butler’s husband, Shawn Butler, and Colombe’s boyfriend, Jesse Breems, and brought propane tanks, solar chargers and clothing and that was with “no organization effort,” just word of mouth from people wanting to help, Butler said.

When they got there, Butler said they found a “peaceful, community-oriented” group of people “taking care of each other.”

Last weekend, Butler went again with her husband, along with Teryn Courtney and Raini Grams. They drove in a pickup full of supplies such as blankets, water and food. They arrived in Cannon Ball, N.D., before the snowstorm that hit and also before news that the Dakota Access Pipeline was denied the necessary permit to drill beneath the Missouri River by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The corporation views the stay as a political move only. According to businesswire.com, the corporation will continue construction of the pipeline “without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.”

Colombe, who is from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the home of the Sincangu Lakota tribe, said Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault has urged the protectors to clear out, and many of the supporters are leaving because of the harsh weather conditions. Some of the protectors are staying and still need support from fellow Americans.

“We’re just people trying to protect Mother Earth for the whole USA, the whole world,” said Colombe. “Without water there is no life. We are protectors of Mother Earth and the environment.”

Butler said she is working to help the cause because of the ill “treatment of the Indigenous Peoples throughout our history” and she thinks it is “wrong for the corporation to circumvent the law” plus she is concerned about the “environmental impact on people’s water.”

Two “Stand with Standing Rock” events took place last week in Marshall. Jon Nmi Eagle and Cleo Rouse shared their experiences Nov. 30 at Southwest Minnesota State University and SMSU’s Michele Knife Sterner spoke Dec. 1 at the Marshall-Lyon County Library.

“Why is (protecting water) important?” Knife Sterner said. “We’re made of water. Water is sacred. I’m part of the Earth, the universe. We are made up of the same things. We are all connected. We are all related.”

Knife Sterner said that for every 500,000 barrels of oil, systems are in place to detect over 1.8 percent of an oil leak.

“That means 9,000 barrels per day could go undetected,” she said.

In addition, corporations “lie to the EPA all the time,” she said.

For more information, visit http://www.standingrocksolidaritynetwork.org/how-to-be-an-ally.html or http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/donations-for-construction

People may contact Misty Butler at 320-226-8488 or Crystal Kass at 320-905-1643.

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