Human Rights

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity, contamination of the environment and damage to human health. Most often, communities of color, indigenous peoples or those of low-income are targeted to bear the brunt of these impacts, particularly the damaging health and environmental effects of uranium mining. The nuclear power industry inevitably violates human rights.



Canadian and U.S. Native American First Nations join forces against tar sands crude oil pipelines, as fight over Dakota Access continues

From the Sept. 22nd Midwest Energy News:


• Tribes from Canada and the United States sign a treaty to jointly fight proposals to build more pipelines to move crude oil out of Alberta. (Reuters)

• Two major pro-development lobbying groups have launched a seven-figure ad campaign encouraging the Obama administration to support completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Grist)
• A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in early October on a tribe’s request to halt construction on a portion of the Dakota Access pipeline. (EnergyWire)


Over 1200 Archeologists & Museum Directors' letter to President Obama demanding a halt to DAPL

From INDIGENOUS RISING, an Indigenous Environmental Network Project:

Over 1200 Archeologists & Museum Directors just sent a letter to President Obama demanding a halt to Dakota Access Pipeline destruction of cultural sites!

In an amazing act of solidarity, over 1200 archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and museum directors sent a letter to President Obama, urging the White House administration to halt construction on the Dakota Access pipeline to prevent the destruction of cultural resources.

It is unusual for museums to engage in this type of advocacy, but speaks to the critical natural of this issue. The significance of the cultural artifacts along the proposed route is simply too great to sacrifice for a crude oil pipeline. [Article continues below.]

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is currently suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is the primary federal agency that granted permits needed for the pipeline to be constructed. The focus of the lawsuit is that the Army Corps took an illegally narrow view of its responsibilities to protect and engage the Tribe when it granted the permits. The lawsuit alleges that the Corps violated multiple federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act, National Historic Protection Act, and National Environmental Policy Act, when it issued the permits. Of primary focus for the tribe is the potential destruction of cultural and sacred sites, impacts on the drinking water and overall environmental impacts caused by pipeline construction. 
These concerns were validated with the Sept 3rd bulldozing of burial sites by the Dakota Access pipeline company.
We continue to ask for the Obama administration to revoke all permits granted under the authority of the US Army Corps of Engineers permit process titled Nationwide Permit 12. Furthermore we demand the Corps should exercise its discretion to order a full EIS be conducted on the entire project.
The group letter and press release:
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2016
Contact: Beka Economopoulos, 917-202-5479,
1200+ Archeologists, Museum Directors Urge Obama Administration to Halt Dakota Access Pipeline Destruction of Cultural Resources

“The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota, and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation.”

In a new letter sent to the Obama administration, over 1,200 museum directors, archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians expressed solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access pipeline.

In response to a groundswell of opposition to the pipeline project both on the ground and across the country, the administration released a statement on September 9th announcing that the Army will not authorize construction of the pipeline on Corps land until it can assess whether a more thorough analysis should be conducted. However, they have not yet committed to conduct a complete environmental impact statement, or that the Tribes would be adequately consulted.
The letter, sent to President Obama, the United States Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers this week, expresses support for the Tribes’ treaty rights, denounces the destruction of sacred sites, and calls for meaningful consultation with the tribe and their input in decision-making.
“The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota, and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation,” the signers state. “If constructed, this pipeline will continue to encourage oil consumption that causes climate change, all the while harming those populations who contributed little to this crisis.”
The letter has galvanized unprecedented from support from these communities, with hundreds signed on in just the first 24 hours. There are now 1,280 signatories. 50 of those are executive directors of museums and institutions of archaeology or anthropology, including Smithsonian, Field Museum, American Museum of Natural History, and others. While the majority of the signatures are from the United States, museum staff and scientists from around the world, including Australia, Guatemala, Italy, and Brazil have signed on.
The full text of the letter and list of signers is available exclusively here
“The signers of this letter are far from your typical activists,” said Beka Economopoulos, Director of The Natural History Museum, the institution that initiated the letter. “It speaks to the critical nature of this issue that museum directors and scientists, who don’t often engage in political struggle, have made the decision to raise their voices about the Dakota Access pipeline. The significance of the cultural artifacts along the pipeline’s proposed route is simply too great to sacrifice for a fossil fuel pipeline that would threaten not only these artifacts, but also land, water, tribal sovereignty, and the climate.”

“What the Standing Rock Sioux are going through is just one example of a systemic and historical truth around how extractive and polluting infrastructure is forced upon Native communities,” said James Powell, Former President and Director of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and former President of the Franklin Museum of Science. “It is long past time for us to abandon fossil fuel projects that harm Native communities and threaten the future of our planet.”
“Professional archaeologists have grown weary of watching federal agencies cowboy together their own set of rules to frame the circumstances at hand—in this case, the Army Corps of Engineers handling of Section 106 compliance (National Historic Preservation Act) for the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said David Hurst Thomas, Curator at the American Museum of Natural History in NY and Founding Trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. “It is too much to ask our feds to obey the same environmental and historical protection laws as the rest of us?”
“The Obama Administration has temporarily stopped the Dakota Access Pipeline’s illegal push toward contaminating Sioux water and its bullying tactics that deliberately desecrated Sioux Ancestors and a sacred place,” said Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Muscogee), President, The Morning Star Institute, and Recipient of a 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor. “DAPL first violated existing religious freedom, cultural rights, historic, environmental and archaeological laws by failing to consult with the Standing Rock and other Sioux nations, and most recently by denying descendants access to their sacred place and enforcing the ban with attack dogs and other weapons. Native people and supporters urge official actions to stop this shameful, illegal project permanently.”
“At The Field Museum we care deeply about sustaining the heritage and wellbeing of indigenous peoples,” said Richard Lariviere, PhD, President and CEO of The Field Museum in Chicago, IL. “Through our collections and research we recognize the profound importance of sacred landscapes for different cultures. And we have scientific programs throughout the Americas that concentrate on studying these sites and on translating our research into action that protects important landscapes, celebrates cultural diversity, and deepens cultural understanding.”

“Scholar-practitioners in museums and universities have now joined forces with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in an effort to protect their cultural legacy, as well as the land and water upon which they depend,” said Robert R. Janes, Ph.D. , Archaeologist, Museologist, and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Museum Management and Curatorship. “The Natural History Museums’ letter of support, now numbering 1,280 signatures, embodies the progressive civic action necessary to ensure social and climate justice for the Standing Rock Sioux.”
The letter was organized by The Natural History Museum, a mobile and pop-up museum that champions bold action on climate change. The museum made headlines last year when they organized a letter signed by 150 of the world’s top scientists, including several Nobel laureates, urging science and natural history museums to cut ties to fossil fuel interests. Since its release, eight institutions have responded by either divesting from fossil fuels, dropping a fossil fuel sponsor, or enacting new policies that refuse fossil fuel funding. The museum also gathered 552,000 signatures on a petition to get David Koch –a top funder of climate science disinformation–off the board of NY’s American Museum of Natural History – and he resigned just a few months later after serving on the board for 23 years.
In addition to sign-on letter initiated by The Natural History Museum, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology have both released strong statements of their own denouncing the Dakota Access pipeline.




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Nuclear Free Future: Dakota Pipeline Protest

Margaret Harrington, host of Nuclear Free Future, speaks with Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear in DC as he can give us a first hand report of the Dakota Pipeline Protest.

Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Watchdog with Beyond Nuclear, talks with Nuclear Free Future host Margaret Harrington about why he participated in the Dakota Pipeline Protest and how the new federal proposals for radioactive nuclear waste sites is related to the ongoing oil pipeline protest. The anti nuclear pro green energy activist discusses the sacred sites of Native Americans, the water contamination and extensive ravage of the earth brought about by oil and nuclear industries. Beyond Nuclear is committed to bringing about a nuclear free future and Kevin Kamps is in the frontline to show how to realize that future.

[Please note: the correct website for Indigenous Environmental Network is]


Stand With Standing Rock: NO Dakota Access! [Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth]

Following is the text from an emailed action alert/updated sent by Winona "No Nukes" LaDuke of Honor the Earth:

This is an epic moment and the path forward is clear. I am writing to share our Standing Rock campaign work with you, protecting Mother Earth from the Dakota Access pipeline, and to ask you to join us over the months ahead.  Now is the time.

For months now, Honor the Earth has been working with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and two grassroots groups, the Sacred Stones Camp and Red Warrior Camp.  While we fought off one fracked oil pipeline here in Minnesota, Enbridge’s Sandpiper, the companies moved west.  So we have followed them - because a pipeline that would harm Standing Rock’s water will also harm ours.  

We are here not only to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, but to make a future for our people.  This is the time to push for renewable energy and justice.  No more desecration of our lands.  No more poisoning of our people.  We have momentum.  We have the world’s attention.  And we are standing together and standing up.  Please join us.

There is more than just a $3.9 billion pipeline at stake here.  This is about constitutional rights, and human rights. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, Governor Dalrymple seeks to spend over $7.8 million militarizing the state to put down the Lakota and their allies.  This is not going to happen.  We are a strong and principled people.  As of today, 69 people have been arrested, including Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II and Councilmember Dana Yellowfat.  The people have physically stopped construction for weeks.  And the battle is just beginning.  I am watching history repeat itself, and wondering how badly Dalrymple really wants that pipeline.

This is our plan: 3 of Honor the Earth's primary staff have essentially moved to Standing Rock to support the frontlines and ensure a multi-dimensional campaign.  We continue to provide legal strategies and counsel, and campaign coordination.  And we continue to work on the future.  This tribe does not need a new pipeline, they need energy infrastructure that actually serves its people.  After all, three years ago Debbie Dogskin, a Standing Rock resident, froze to death because she could not pay her propane bill.  That is the reality here.

With an 85% drop in active oil rigs in the Bakken oil fields, there is no need for this pipeline.  It is a pipeline from nowhere.  Here’s what true energy independence would look like:   With $3.9 billion equally divided, we could install 65,000 typical 5kw residential rooftop PV systems, each supplying about half of the home's electricity needs; install 325 2MW utility scale wind towers that would generate over 3.5 billion kwh per year; and provide 160,000 homes with $8000 efficiency retrofit packages, saving $300/yr/home.  That would produce a whole lot of jobs, most of them local. 

We are supporting Standing Rock as they fight this pipeline, but we are also helping to create a new future.  We plan to install 20 solar thermal panels on tribal houses at Standing Rock, beginning to address fuel poverty on the reservation.

We are here to defend the water, the land and the people.   No new pipelines anywhere.  It is time to move on.  From October 8-13, Honor the Earth is proud to join forces with the Wounded Knee Memorial Riders, the Dakota 38 and Big Foot riders, and many horse nation societies, in a spiritual horse ride to protect our sacred waters from the Dakota Access pipeline and all the black snakes that threaten our lands.

At times like these, I often ask myself,  “What would Sitting Bull do?”  The answer is pretty clear.  A hundred years ago the great leader said, “Let us put our minds together to see what kind of life we can make for our children.”  The time for that is now.  Please join us today with a one-time donation or better yet, a commitment to stand with us each month.  Let us be the ancestors our future generations wish to thank.


Winona LaDuke

PS:  We are just now bringing in our wild rice harvest from the White Earth Reservation. We are proud to say that this wild rice is still pipeline free.  We have fought hard for this beautiful rice, because it is everything to us.  Please consider ordering some today

[Please also see the relevant section of Honor the Earth's website, including links to what you can do/how you can help support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline.]


Dakota Access and other pipeline (including natural gas) related news from Midwest Energy News

Links to just a single day's news coverage from Midwest Energy News, of the Dakota Access Pipeline, other crude oil pipelines (as well as natural gas pipelines), and their impacts on Native Americans, the climate, etc.:

• A federal appeals court orders a halt to construction on another section of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. (Associated Press)
• A tribal leader in Wisconsin says the Dakota Access pipeline should be a concern for all, not just Native Americans. (LaCrosse Tribune)
• A federal judge drops a temporary restraining order against tribal leaders who were sued by the Dakota Access developer. (Associated Press)
• The Dakota Access protest site has created a new school for children and an increasingly organized system to deliver supplies there. (Associated Press)
• Enbridge performs maintenance on an oil pipeline in northern Minnesota after corrosion was discovered on the line’s exterior. (Forum News Service)

• North Dakota’s oil production outlook for the rest of the year looks poor, officials say. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• An Ohio appeals court says the developer of a natural gas pipeline in Ohio and Michigan can enter private property and conduct land surveys. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)*


• Federal agencies and courts should decide quickly on a framework for an agreement over the Dakota Access pipeline. (Bismarck Tribune)

[*Please note that the largely pro bono attorney for the groups and individuals fighting fracking in all its manifestations in Ohio and Michigan -- from pipelines, to drilling, to wastewater disposal -- is Terry Lodge, Esquire, based in Toledo, Ohio. Lodge also serves as Beyond Nuclear et al.'s largely pro bono attorney in many nuclear power and radioactive waste campaigns in that region, and beyond.]