Native American groups and climate activists are protesting the halted Dakota Access Pipeline at oil giant Sunoco’s Pennsylvania headquarters, and the New Jersey Sierra Club was there with them as they turned out Wednesday. The controversial pipeline would run through parts of North Dakota that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others consider sacred, and caused violent confrontations between private security guards and protesters earlier this month.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to temporarily halt construction of the pipeline near the Standing Rock reservation pending a new appeal by the tribe in federal court.
“We are protesting at the Sunoco Headquarters because they are part of the company who owns Dakota Access Pipeline,” the group’s Jeff Tittel wrote in a statement. “This pipeline is cutting through their sacred lands and is a threat to their environment. It also risks natural lands, wildlife habitat, and the tribe’s water supply. The construction of this pipeline would do irreparable harm to lands held in Trust for the Standing Rock Sioux.”
New Jersey, he said, has a stake in the future of the pipeline. He urged the administration of President Barack Obama to reject expanding the Dakota Access pipeline like they did the Keystone XL pipeline in 2015.
“Sunoco is not only proposing destructive projects that hurt environmentally sensitive lands in the Mid-West, but are trying to push through pipelines on the East Coast,” he continued. “This pipeline might even connect to refineries here, increasing pollution and greenhouse gases.”
Chief Dennis ‘White Otter’ Coker of the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware joined the protest on Wednesday, and said his tribe supports the protesters in North Dakota.
“The Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in calling for the Army Corps of Engineers to halt this pipeline and initiate an administrative process that includes full Tribal input and consultation. Indigenous cultural and natural resources, especially clean water rights, must be protected,” he wrote.