District Council 57

Council 57 Passes Resolution to Support Standing Rock Protesters

Thousands of Native Americans have been protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The pipeline puts Standing Rock’s water supply at risk and threatens to desecrate sacred burial sites.

While President Obama recently said that the Army Corps of Engineers is considering rerouting the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, the fight for justice continues and many of our union brothers and sisters throughout the country are jumping on board to support the protesters.

Beyond the retaliation many of the protesters have faced over the last several weeks for protecting their land, the bigger issue is about climate change.

That is why AFSCME Council 57’s Executive Board recently passed a resolution to join others in the labor movement in support of the protesters at Standing Rock.

As the National Geographic documentary, “Before the Flood,” points out, our dependence on fossil fuels continues to have adverse effects on the environment.

“When projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline are allowed to happen, they not only accelerate climate change,” said AFSCME Council 57 President Cynthia McCabe. “They also allow corporations to continue to put profit over people’s lives, and that’s something our Union can’t stay silent about.”

McCabe added that Council 57 calls for the Federal Government to make permanent the moratorium on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on and near Standing Rock.

“Native Americans are the indigenous people of this country,” McCabe said. “They and other activists have the right to defend their land and water, and we support that right 100%.”

The following is the resolution that was passed on Oct. 28:

Support for the People of Standing Rock Reservation Resolution

WHEREAS, the Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over half a million barrels of dirty crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois to connect to other pipelines bringing oil to the East Coast and the Gulf; and this pipeline is slated to pass through the tribal lands of Standing Rock Sioux near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and underneath the Missouri River, not only desecrating the ancestral burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux but bringing potential harm to their main source of drinking water;

WHEREAS, the transport of heavy crude is particularly volatile, leading to 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked, or released into the air, land, and waterways between 2006 and 2014 in North Dakota alone, causing death, contamination of soil and water, and all kinds of disease; and scientists have warned that in order to avoid wide-scale, catastrophic climate disruption, the vast majority of known remaining fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground; and Native Americans and other activists defending their land and water have the right to defend their land and water and engage in non-violent protest without fear of being brutalized, and

Whereas, many large corporations, have been putting profits ahead of the common good of communities and the environment, and through activist Supreme Court decisions have been: granted constitutional rights and powers of person-hood and advantaged by the doctrine of money being considered free speech thereby diminishing democracy and the voice and power of the people;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that AFSCME California Council 57 stands with the Standing Rock Sioux and calls for the Federal Government to make permanent the moratorium on construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on and near the Standing Rock Reservation by revoking permits for construction issued by the Army Corps of Engineers; and we call upon our union, AFSCME, at all levels to support a just transition to a renewable energy economy and invest in the construction of a nationwide sustainable energy infrastructure that will address the growing threat of climate change and its consequent droughts, floods, fire, crop failure, species extinction and other dire consequences of global warming; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to AFSCME International’s President Lee Saunders; Secretary Treasure Laura Reyes; Secretary Hillary Clinton, our endorsed candidate for President of the United States; the Secretary of the Interior Department and Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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