Biden Administration Moves Quickly to Revoke Illegal KXL Permit
On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order revoking the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline permit issued by the Trump administration. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) and the Fort Belknap Indian Community (Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) Tribes) along with their counsel, the Native American Rights Fund, applaud the Biden administration’s action to revoke the illegally issued KXL permit.
Early in his presidency, President Trump made it a priority to issue permits for the questionable KXL project without the required tribal consultation, environmental review, or consideration for treaty rights. It was a blatant attempt to prioritize corporate interests over the health and well-being of the region’s citizens and tribes’ authority to govern their lands and protect their citizens.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney M. Bordeaux spoke to the KXL issue, “In approving the Keystone XL pipeline, the federal government repeatedly ignored treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and widespread opposition to push forward the interests of a foreign oil and gas company. Revoking the illegally issued pipeline permit is a start, but we call on the Biden administration to do more, to go further, to respect the rights of Native peoples and improve the relationships between tribes and the federal government.”
“Our land, water, and people are under direct threat from the KXL pipeline. It is a project that has moved forward without regard to legality or safety. Our water sources are threatened by the dirty tar sand crude, our ancestral homelands are in the direct path of the pipeline, and our people already are suffering the effects of nearby construction worker man camps. Revoking the Trump administration’s illegal permit is a necessary first step towards fixing this situation,” Fort Belknap Indian Community President Andrew Werk Jr. explained.
NARF Staff Attorney Matthew Campbell responded to today’s action, “The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community have both poured tremendous effort and resources to defend their treaty rights and the safety of their tribal communities’ during the last few years. President Biden’s action today is an important first step in correcting the callous disregard for tribal sovereignty that has flourished in recent years. We look forward to working with the new administration to ensure that, going forward, Native peoples are included in decision-making discussions and policy development that affect their land, people, and treaty rights.”
With President Trump’s illegal permit revoked, the Tribes plan to continue their efforts to ensure that TransCanada, and its proposed Keystone XL project, follows all applicable laws that are in place to protect tribal people and ancestral lands.