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South Dakota Tribes Urged to Support Pipeline Spill Bill

February 22, 2011

Native Sun News, out of Rapid City South Dakota, reported that South Dakota Tribes are being urged to support a bill that will require shippers of crude oil to pay for pipeline spills. The advocate that is pushing for support of this bill is Dianne Desrosiers, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.  Desrosiers believes this bill, at the state level, will help hold large oil companies accountable for spills in remote areas, like South Dakota. This bill comes in the wake of a national decision that will be made as to whether or not TransCanada will be allowed to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL, if approved, will run from the Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada to oil refineries in Texas and will come through the Dakotas.

Plains Justice, one of the leading environmental advocacy groups in the region, played a large role in helping organize the indigenous population in South Dakota and informing them of their rights against these large oil companies. Along with the Indigenous Environmental Network, Plains Justice has been heavily involved in preparing South Dakota Natives for what will happen if TransCanada is able to secure the approval for the Keystone XL pipeline from the US State Department.

Along with the action these groups have taken, the South Dakota Bill will help put safeguards in place when a spill occurs.

“There will be a spill, and should a leak occur they wouldn’t know right away how it affects ground water. We need to have them take a look at corporate accountability to protect our aquifers,” Desrosiers said.

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