WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley met with tribal leaders and activists protesting the planned Dakota Access Pipeline as grassroots energy gathered on the National Mall ahead of today’s “Native Nations Rise” March on Washington.
Merkley met with the leaders at a tribal encampment set up by the Washington Monument.
“For too long, the rights of native nations have been ignored and pushed aside in favor of powerful special interests,” said Merkley. “This injustice has persisted throughout our history, and nowhere do we see this dynamic more clearly than in the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. When a predominantly white community said that they didn’t want this pipeline running through their backyards because of the high risk of water contamination, it was instead rerouted through Indian Country—where it will not only pose an equal threat to drinking water, but also will disturb sacred sites. This is unacceptable, and I applaud the courageous activists who have led the fight to right this wrong, both at Standing Rock and now here on the National Mall.”
“Native youth and activists are leading the fight to save our planet from the ravages of climate change,” Merkley added. “Congress should follow their lead and act quickly and justly to transition from a fossil fuel economy to a clean and renewable energy economy.”