Hundreds of Indigenous Leaders, Environmental Groups, and Influencers Including Cast of the Avengers, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Cher Call on President Biden to Stand with Standing Rock & Shut Down the Illegal Dakota Access Pipeline

After the courts ruled the pipeline is operating illegally, the Biden Administration must decide on Feb. 10th whether to shut it down while an environmental review is undertaken

A broad coalition of Native-led groups, environmental organizations, and influencers released a letter calling on President Biden and Vice President Harris to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and shut down the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) following the Jan. 27 court ruling that the pipeline is operating illegally without the necessary federal permits. 

The movement to stop the Dakota Access pipeline has been one of the most high-profile Indigenous rights and climate justice issues. It was halted by President Obama and then fast-tracked by President Trump in 2017. Now a federal judge has asked the Biden Administration’s Army Corps of Engineers to appear in court on Wednesday, Feb. 10 and make a decision whether Biden’s Administration will shut down the pipeline while the court-ordered environmental review is conducted. This letter is being sent in conjunction with a 93-mile relay run being led by Standing Rock youth to put pressure on President Biden to take action. The run is happening on Tuesday, February 9th and crosses the entire Standing Rock Sioux Nation and ends at the historic Oceti Sakowin Camp, site of the 2016 #NoDAPL resistance. 

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The letter is signed by leading indigenous and environmental organizations including the Indigenous Environmental Network, Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, NDN Collective, IllumiNative as well as a number of notable influencers including Green Bay Packers’ Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the cast of the Avengers including Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, Chris Hemsworth, musicians including Cher, Cyndi Lauper, and Dave Matthews as well as a host of prominent actors and filmmakers including Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Alyssa Milano, Amy Schumer, Ed Helms, Jane Fonda, Chelsea Handler, Joaquin Phoenix, Marisa Tomei, Ava DuVernay, Jason Momoa, Jennifer Connelly, Orlando Bloom, Paul Bettany, Piper Perabo, Rooney Mara, Ryan Reynolds, Sarah Silverman, Shailene Woodley, Todd Haynes, Uzo Aduba and others.

The issue presents an early test for the Biden Administration on both Indigenous rights and climate justice. This comes shortly after President Biden stopped the Keystone XL pipeline and has made a number of historic climate appointments in the White House and nominated the first Native American to serve in the President’s Cabinet with Rep. Deb Haaland for the Department of Interior. 

The letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris states, “We urge you to remedy this historic injustice and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately shut down the illegal Dakota Access Pipeline while the Environmental Impact Statement process is conducted.”

Additionally, the letter calls for the U.S. Army Corps to ensure a robust environmental review is undertaken with significant Tribal consultation, Tribal consent, and a thorough risk analysis. Many organizations and experts have raised serious environmental harms from the pipeline that should have been examined in a thorough environmental review. 


Over 4 years ago, people from across the country and around the world joined together to stop the pipeline in what became one of the biggest global movements to protect Tribal sovereignty and stop unjust fossil fuel infrastructure. The pipeline had originally been slated to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck, ND, yet the risk of an oil spill on the city’s 90% white inhabitants was deemed too great. The new crossing site shifted the risk to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a location of key religious and cultural importance to the Tribe, including the burial grounds of their ancestors.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the federal government in 2016 and after four years of litigation, in March 2020 the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider several critical issues and ignoring key evidence submitted by the Tribe. The Court ordered the U.S. Army Corps to prepare an environmental impact statement. After an appeal, on January 27th of this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the pipeline is operating illegally. The U.S. District Judge set a hearing on February 10th to discuss the final ruling and whether the Biden Administration will shut down the pipeline or allow it to operate illegally without a permit. 


Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris,

Thank you for your administration’s early focus on climate change, tribal sovereignty, and racial justice and equity, including your decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. We are also grateful for your critical efforts to save lives and address the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately impacting BIPOC communities across our country. As your Administration takes action to address the climate crisis and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities, we respectfully urge you to reverse another harmful Trump Administration decision and immediately shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) during its court-ordered environmental review. 

In 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe became the epicenter of a global climate justice movement to stop the illegal construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline had originally been slated to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck, ND, yet the risk of an oil spill on the city’s 90% white inhabitants was deemed too great. The new crossing site shifted the risk to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a location of key religious and cultural importance, including the burial grounds of their ancestors. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved several of the required permits without conducting an Environmental Impact Statement or adequately consulting with the Tribe. 

After several months of peaceful demonstrations and the advocacy of tens of millions of Americans, President Obama listened to the demands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He declined to issue the final pipeline permit. Then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced they would conduct a full environmental review, which would focus on the Tribe’s treaty rights.  However, Trump stopped the review and fast tracked the pipeline hours after he took office, further violating tribal sovereignty. 

During the next four years, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Oglala Sioux Tribe continued their legal fight, making the case that the pipeline was illegal. In March 2020, the U.S. District Court ruled that the pipeline was operating without the proper permits and needed to have a full environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Court ordered the U.S. Army Corps to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. In July 2020, the Court ordered the pipeline be shut down. After an appeal, on January 27th, days after your Inauguration, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the pipeline is operating illegally and gave your Administration the authority to shut down the pipeline. The U.S. District Judge set a hearing on February 10th to discuss the final ruling and to ask your Administration whether you will shut down the pipeline or allow it to operate illegally without a permit. 

We urge you to remedy this historic injustice and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately shut down the illegal Dakota Access Pipeline while the Environmental Impact Statement process is conducted, consistent with the D.C. District Court’s decision and order. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps must ensure a robust environmental review with significant tribal consultation, tribal consent, and a thorough risk analysis.

With your leadership, we have a momentous opportunity to protect our water and respect our environmental laws and the rights of Indigenous people. This is our moment.

Mni Wiconi. Water is life.



Aaron Rodgers, Athlete

Aaryaman Singhal, Co-Founder, Sunrise Movement Dallas

Abby Mnookin, Co-Director, 350 Vermont

Abigail McHugh-Grifa, Executive Director, Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region

Adam Scott, Director, Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health

Alex Beal, Artist

Alexis Bhagat, Writer

Alexis Saenz, Executive Director and Chapter Representative, International Indigenous Youth 

Council Los Angeles Chapter 

Ali Hart, Producer

Allie Rosenbluth, Campaigns Director, Rogue Climate

Alysia Reiner, Actress

Alyssa Milano, Actor, Producer, Activist

Amanda Kiger, Executive Director, River Valley Organizing

Amy Schumer, Performer

Amy Wasielewski, Artist

Anathea Chino, Co-founder and Executive Director, Advance Native Political Leadership

Andrew Hinz, Writer

Anne D Burt, Founder, Down to Earth Storytelling

Anthony Diaz, Co-founder, Newark Water Coalition

Anya Rous, Documentary Producer 

Ashley Funk, Executive Director, Mount Watershed Association

Assia Boundaoui, Journalist, Filmmaker

Ava DuVernay, Filmmaker, ARRAY

Basav Sen, Climate Policy Director, Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Program

Beka Econonomopoulos, Executive Director, The Natural History Museum

Blair Nelsen, Executive Director, Waterspirit

Bob Guldin, Writer, Editor

Bobbi Jean Three Legs, Climate Justice Divestment Organizer, Seeding Sovereignty

Brenda Jo McManama, Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network

Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance

Bruce Cohen, Producer, We Stand United

Cameron Balber, Executive Director, Consumer Watchdog

Carmi Orenstein, Co-Founder, Concerned Health Professionals of New York

Carole Blodgett, Founder, Director, Water is Life Walks and Nurture The Children

Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director, Science and Environmental Health Network

Catherine Gund, Filmmaker

Chelsea Handler, Comedian

Cher, Artist

Cheryl Barnds, Co-Chair, Rapid Shift Network

Cheryl Nenn, Milwaukee Riverkeeper

Chris Evans, Actor

Chris Hemsworth, Actor

Chrissie Castro, Executive Director, California Native Vote Project

Christina Papagjika, Entertainment Producer

Crystal Echo Hawk, Executive Director, IllumiNative

Cyndi Lauper, Musician

Damon Motz-Storey, Health Climate Program Director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Daniel Crawford, Chair, Roanoke Group, Sierra Club

Daniel Taylor, Co-Founder, Concerned Residents of Oxford

Dany Sigwalt, Executive Director, Power Shift Network

Daphne Wysham, Director, Methane Action

Dave Matthews, Musician

David Caicedo, Co Executive Director,  Florida Student Power Network

David Kyp Malone, Artist, Musician 

Dawnetter Scott, Youth Director, Mills Church

Debbie New, Creative Director, Climate Finance Action

Diana Wright, People of Albany United for Safe Energy

Dianna Cohen, Cofounder, CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition

Dineen O’Rouke. Campaign Manager, 350PDX

Don Cheadle, Actor

Dorian Fulvio, 350NYC

Doug Couchon, Co-Founder, Coalition to Protect New York

Dwaine Perry, Chief of Ramapough Lenape Nation

Ed Helms, Actor/Producer

Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director, Oil Change International 

Ellie Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Center

Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Executive Director, Western Environmental Law Center

Erika Thi Patterson, Campaign Director, Action Center on Race and the Economy

Evie Lovett, Artist

Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-Director, Green America

Gail Neustadt, Writer, Actor

George Matthis, President, River Guardian Foundation

Georgina Shanley, Co-Founder, Citizens United for Renewable Energy 

Gracie Brett, Organizer, Divest Ed

Hannah Shapiro, Artist

Harriet Shugarman, Executive Director, ClimateMama

Heather Rosmarin, Executive Director, InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute

Isabella Zizi, Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, Muskogee Creek, Idle No More SF Bay

Jackie Nuñez, Founder, The Last Plastic Straw

Jade Begay, Climate Justice Director, NDN Collective

James Masino, Chair, Climate Reality NYC Metro Chapter

Jane Fonda, Actor, Activist, Fire Drill Fridays

Jane Kleeb, Founder, Bold Alliance

Janet MacGillivray, Executive Director, Seeding Sovereignty 

Janet Passanante, Artist

Janet Myers-Newbury, Artist 

Jasmine Sanders, Executive Director, Our Climate Education Fund

Jason Momoa, Actor

Jaz Whiteley- Steel, Artist

Jeani Murray, Advisor, Bold ReThink

Jeffery Smith, Co-Chair, 350 Montana

Jennifer Connelly, Actress

Jennifer Dube, Climate Organizer, 350 New Hampshire

Jermey Nicholds, Climate and Energy Program Director, WildEarth Guardians

Jess Wallach, Campaigns Co-Director, 350 Seattle

Jessica Girard, Executive Director, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition

Joanie Steinhaus, Gulf Program Director, Turtle Island Restoration Network

Joaquin Phoenix, Actor

Jodi Archambault, Former Obama Advisor and Citizen of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Jodie Evans, Co-Founder, CODEPINK

Joel Garcia, Artist, Cultural Organizer, Director, Meztli Projects

Jonathon Westin, Executive Director, New York Communities for Change

Joseph Campbell, President, Gas Free Seneca

John Medeski, Musician

Joseph Uehlein, President, Labor Network for Sustainability

Josh Gad, Actor

Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights

Julian NoiseCat, Writer

Julie Bergman, Filmmaker

Julia Walsh, We Stand United

Karen Bearden, Triangle Coordinator, 350 Triangle

Karenna Gore, Director, Center for Earth Ethics

Kate Ogden, Advocacy and Movement Building Manager, Seventh Generation

Katherine Versluys, Artist, Photographer

Kathy Smail, Executive Director, Glasswaters Foundation

Kayla Soren, Executive Director, International Student Environmental Coalition

Kerry Washington, Actor

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity

Kisha Bari, Photographer

Laura Dawn, Founder, ART NOT WAR

Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor

Leoyla Cowboy Giron, Executive Director, Water Protector Legal Collective

Lesile Cagan, Social Change Organizer

Lilakoi Moon, Artist

Linda Sarsour, Activist, Organizer, MPower Change

Lisa Tyson, Director, Long Island Progressive Coalition

Logan Burke, Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Energy

Louie Psihoyos, Filmmaker and Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society

Dr. Lucky Tran, Managing Director, March for Science

Lynda Majors, Chair, Preserve Montgomery County VA

Malik Yusef Jones, Entertainer, 

Marcela Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder, Executive Director, Azul

Marie Venner, Co Chair, CatholicNetwork, US

Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director, New Energy Economy

Marisa Tomei, Actor, We Stand United

Mark Dixon, Co-Founder, No Petro PA

Mark Dunlea, Chair, Green Education and Legal Fund

Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Director, Producer, We Stand United

Mark J Palmer, Associate Director, International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute

Melaie Winter, Founder, Director, The River Project

Melinda Tuhus, Beyond Extreme Energy

Micah Parkin, Executive Director 350 Colorado

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

Michael Malcom, Executive Director, The People’s Justice Council

Michael Stocker, President, Seven Circles Foundation

Michelle Cook, Founder, Divest Invest Protect

Mike Davis, CEO, Global Witness

Dr. Mildred McClain, Executive Director, Citizens For Environmental Justice

Mishel Prada, Actor

Mitch Bernard, President and Chief Counsel, Natural Resource Defense Council

Molly Gochman, Artist

MorningStar Black, Photographer 

Muhammad Reza, Coordinator, People’s Coalition For The Right To Water

Nadira Foster-Williams, Actress, Artist, Divestment Organizer

Nancy Treviño, Executive Director, Presente

Naomi Klein, Writer

Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, O³

Nicole Donaghy, Executive Director, North Dakota Native Vote & Enrolled citizen of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Nicole Kement, President, 350 Silicon Valley

Nik Evasco, Climate Organizer, Program Manager, 350 Bay Area 

Nora Howard, Artist

Orlando Bloom, Actor

Osprey-Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network 

Own Luck, Photographer

Paola Mendoza, Filmmaker, Actor

Patrica Hine, President, 350 Eugene

Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director, Rainforest Action Network

Patti Wood, Executive Director, Grassroots Environmental Education

Paula Hood, Co-Director, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project

Paul Bettany, Actor

Pennie Opal Plant, Co-Founder, Movement Rights

Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner, Wilderness Committee

Peter Yarrow, Performer, Folksinger, Peter, Paul and Mary

Piper Perabo, Actor

Purly Rae Gates, CEO, Clean Energy Now Texas

Queen Quet, Founder, Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition

Rachel Nortz, Producer

Rachel Siota, Sustainability and Outreach Director, The Revolution Coalition

Rahna Epting, Executive Director,

Rania Batrice, Interim Executive Director, March for Science

Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director, Solidaire Action Fund

Rebecca Chaiklin, Filmmaker, We Stand United

Rebekah Sale, Executive Director, Property Rights and Pipeline Center

Rev. Nathan Empsall, Campaigns Director, Faithful America

RL Miller, DNC member, Co-founder, Climate Hawks Vote

Robert Crawford, Artist

Robin Martin, Allegheny County Organizer, Food & Water Watch

Robin Schneider, Executive Director, Texas Campaign for the Environment

Robert Downey Jr., Actor

X Jo Horse, Executive Director, Western Native Voice

Rooney Mara, Actor

Ryan Reynolds, Actor

Sandra Kaptain, Chair, Elgin Green Groups

Sandy Emerson, Board President, Fossil Free California

Sarah Eagle Heart, Oglala Lakota Activist & Organizer

Sarah Silverman, Comedian

Scarlett Johansson, Actress

Schele Williams, Director

Shannon Biggs, Co-Founder, Movement Rights

Sharon Hoffman, Founder, 350Merced

Shailene Woodley, Actress

Sherry Pollack, Co-founder, 350Hawaii

Steven Trent, Founder, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Foundation

Susan Pritzker, Philanthropist

Susan Hendershot, President, Interfaith Power & Light

Suzannah Glidden, Co-Founder, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)

Taboo Nawasha, Artist, Activist, Black Eyed Peas

Tamara Roske, Executive Director, Earth Guardians

Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Environmental Advocate

Terisa Siagatonu, Artist

Thomas Lopez, Chairman, NAC Colorado

Timothy Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Tina Lieberman, Chair, People’s Climate Movement – Capital Region

Todd Haynes, Filmmaker

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

Uzo Aduba, Artist

Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, Sunrise Movement

Virgina Necochea, Executive Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center

Wenonah Hauter, Founder and Executive Director, Food & Water Watch

Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper

Yvonne Russo, Producer

Zanagee Artis, Founder and Policy Director, Zero Hour


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