For Immediate Release

Women of Faith Applaud Judges Ruling Stopping Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Women of Faith Applaud Judges Ruling Stopping Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline
At Standing Rock, December 2016

July 8, 2020, NEW YORK – United Methodist Women applauds yesterday’s federal court ruling effectively stopping the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route stretching from North Dakota to Illinois through Indigenous communities. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the pipeline must be vacated and oil removed by Aug. 5.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indigenous communities decried the impact the pipeline would have on tribal land, water, and the environment. After a months-long occupation by demonstrators and water protectors, bitter resistance from law enforcement to the presence of Indigenous people protesting the pipeline, and well-funded corporate opponents, Indigenous communities have secured a victory in this ruling.

“As a community of faith, United Methodist Women opposed the construction of the pipeline, with a number of our members traveling to Standing Rock to be in solidarity with demonstrators there,” said United Methodist Women General Secretary and CEO Harriett Olson. “My own visit made clear the importance of standing with Native Americans to address the risks of pipeline leaks and the treatment of Native American peoples throughout the entire project. We applaud this ruling and remain committed to honoring the position of Indigenous communities out of a deep belief that the pipeline threatened tribal sovereignty over the land and posed an environmental danger.”

The ruling blocking completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline is the second recent victory for environmentalists and Indigenous communities. Earlier this week, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would have carried natural gas across the Appalachian Trail. In both instances, Indigenous communities opposed the projects out of an abiding commitment to the environment.

“Christian women cannot separate God’s call to care for one another and to be good stewards over all that has been entrusted to us,” said Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, executive for economic and environmental justice for United Methodist Women. “We were commanded to care for creation, and that means all of creation – the people and animals we see, the air we breathe, the water we enjoy and the land we are on. But from the 15th century with the Doctrine of Discovery, even to the present, most Christians have either aided and abetted the subjugation of Indigenous peoples or they have remained silent. We have a responsibility to raise our voices loudly with others in opposition of that which harms marginalized communities and the broader environment.”

United Methodist Women’s advocacy work to stop the expansion of the pipeline was done through its Just Energy for All campaign. The campaign works for energy that is cleaner and more just for all of God’s people and creation.

Posted or updated: 7/8/2020 12:00:00 AM

United Methodist Women Communications

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