Mother Earth Accord

Sep 16, 2011 by

MEAccordTribal Government Chairs and Presidents, Traditional Treaty Councils, and US property owners, with First Nation Chiefs of Canada, impacted by TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and tar sands development present at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, September 15-16, 2011, on the protection of Mother Earth and Treaty Territories:

Recognizing that TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 1,980 miles, from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Nederland, Texas, carrying up to 900,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude oil, which would drive additional tar sands production;

Recognizing the existing resolutions and letters in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline;

Guided by the principles of traditional indigenous knowledge, spiritual values, and respectful use of the land;

Affirming our responsibility to protect and preserve for our descendants, the inherent sovereign rights of our Indigenous Nations, the rights of property owners, and all inherent human rights;

Affirming our Indigenous view that the Earth is our true mother, our grandmother who gives birth to us and maintains all life;

Recognizing that the tar sands in northern Alberta, Canada is one of the largest remaining deposits of unconventional oil in the world, containing approximately 2 trillion barrels, and there are plans for a massive expansion of development that would ultimately destroy an area larger than the state of Florida;

Recognizing that tar sand development has devastating impacts to Mother Earth and her inhabitants and perpetuates the crippling addiction to oil of the United States and Canada;

Recalling in September 2010, the Assembly of First Nations of Canada called on the United States government to take into account the environmental impacts of tar sands production on First Nations in its energy policy, citing the high rates of cancer in the downstream Fort Chipewyan community, which prominent scientists say are potentially linked to petroleum products;

Recognizing the findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that tar sands production releases 13 elements considered priority pollutants under the U.S. Clean Water Act, including lead, mercury, and arsenic into the Athabasca River in northern Alberta, which flows 3,000 miles downstream to the Arctic Ocean;Recognizing that tar sands production produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional oil and NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said that if the tar sands are fully developed, it will be “essentially game over” for the climate;

Recognizing that Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands development have more than doubled since 1990, which is the main reason Canada is failing to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol;

Concerned that Indigenous people are most vulnerable to the social, cultural, spiritual, and environmental impacts of climate change;

Recognizing that Exxon-Imperial and ConocoPhillips Heavy Haul shipments are attempting to haul more than 200 oversized loads of heavy oil machinery from the Port of Lewiston, Idaho along Highway 12 into Montana, then north to the tar sands project in Alberta, Canada;

Concerned that tar sands crude oil is more toxic, corrosive, and abrasive than conventional crude oil and poses additional pipeline safety risks that have not been fully assessed by the U.S. Department of State in its final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, issued August 26, 2011;

Recalling that TransCanada’s year-old Keystone pipeline, from Manitoba, Canada to Patoka, Illinois and Cushing Oklahoma, has had 14 spills in the U.S. portion since it started operation in June 2010, and was temporarily shut down by regulators in late May, 2011;

Recognizing TransCanada’s extremely poor safety record for the Keystone pipeline, it is probable that the Keystone XL pipeline will have frequent spills because it will have similar design specifications;

Concerned that oil spills from the Keystone XL pipeline would destroy live-sustaining water resources, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions of people and farmland irrigation throughout the Midwestern United States;

Concerned that construction of the Keystone XL pipeline will impact sacred sites and ancestral burial grounds, and treaty rights throughout traditional territories, without adequate consultation on these impacts;

Concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would increase air pollution in the communities surrounding the refineries that the pipeline would service where people of color, Indigenous peoples, and poor people are already experiencing high rates of cancer and respiratory illness;

Recalling that TransCanada’s permit application to the Canadian government for the Keystone XL pipeline said it will increase oil prices in the United States by $4 billion per year;

Acknowledging that the Keystone XL pipeline is not designed to provide the United States with energy security and that industry documents indicate Gulf Coast refineries operate in a free trade zone and plan to refine tar sands oil into petroleum products that are intended for export overseas;

Therefore, we are united on this Mother Earth Accord, which is effective immediately, that it be resolved as follows:

  • We support and encourage a moratorium on tar sands development;
  • We insist on full consultation under the principles of “free, prior and informed consent,” from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both in the United States and Canada;We urge regional authorities to halt the Exxon-Imperial and ConocoPhillips Heavy Haul shipments of tar sands equipment through the United States and Canada;
  • We urge the United States and Canada to reduce their reliance on oil, including tar sands, and invest in the research and development of cleaner, safer forms of sustainable energy and transportation solutions, including smart growth, fuel efficiency, next-generation biofuels and electric vehicles powered by solar and wind energy.
  • We strongly believe that the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in the national interest of the United States or Canada; and
  • We urge President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to reject the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tribal governments in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada are invited to sign-on. There will also be a category for endorsing and signing on to the Accord by Traditional Societies; Native and non-Native Organizations and Individuals.

The contacts for U.S. sign-ons:

Marty Cobenais, Keystone XL Pipeline, Organizer – Tel: (218) 760-0284 – Email:ienpipeline@igc.org or

Kandi Mosset, Native Energy & Climate Program Organizer – Tel: (701) 214-1389 – Email: ienenergy@igc.org

For Canadian sign-ons contact:

Barret Lenoir or Daniel T’seleie at the Dene National Office (867) 873-4081

Mother Earth Endorsements:

  • Alberta AFN Regional Chief George Stanley
  • Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council, Pine Ridge Agency, SD
  • Member Reservations:
    • Cheyenne River
    • Crow Creek
    • Fort Peck
    • Lower Brule
    • Pine Ridge
    • Rosebud
    • Standing Rock
    • Santee

Click here to view the signature documents for the list above.

Native and Non-Native Group Endorsements:

  • Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Intertribal Council on Utility Policy
  • Ya Ne Dah Ah School – Chickaloon Village Traditional Council
  • Green Party Canada – Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • Family Farm Defenders
  • Farmworker Association of Florida
  • Global Justice Ecology Project
  • Global Alliance Incinerator Alternatives
  • Population and Development Program
  • SmartMeme
  • Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
  • National Family Farm Coalition
  • Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance
  • La Via Campesina – International Peasant Movement
  • LIVE REAL – an initiative of the Food Project
  • Grassroots International
  • OWE AKU – International Justice Projects
  • International Indian Treaty Council
  • United Confederation of Taino People

Click here to view the signature documents for the list above.

  •  Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association

Click here to view the signature doc for the above.

  • Dene National Office – Assembly of First Nations (NWT)

Click here to view the signature doc for the above.

 

 

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