Community will gather for downtown First Friday hours to hold a “Water is Sacred” demonstration.
Missoula, MT (March 6th, 2020)
Missoulians will build a mock tar sand pipeline in Caras Park and set up an oil worker, “man camp”, at 5:30 p.m. to call attention to TC Energy Corp’s commencement of Keystone XL construction in Montana this March and their plans to finish it in December.
“It’s closer than we think,” says Josh Decker, a carpenter who will help lead the community project in Caras Park. He stresses how all Montanans near and far of the pipeline, will suffer the consequences of the impending spills. “It is not a question of ‘If’ it will leak, but when it does. The impact is forever. Everyone knows we need clean Water to live.”
TC Energy Corp’s Keystone pipeline spilled 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota last fall, the second big spill in two years. In 2017, the company spilled over 400,000 gallons in South Dakota. It has been a ten-year ongoing battle between communities and the corporation to build their fossil fuel project. Both tribal governments and environmental groups have brought lawsuits against TC Energy and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, including the most recent one by Sierra Club, Northern Plains Resource Council, Natural Resources Defense Center, Bold Alliance, and Friends of the Earth that will be heard this morning in Great Falls.
“We are experiencing a new system of environmental law under the current administration and this is setting precedence on Indigenous Rights and Sovereignty,” says University of Montana student and Blackfeet nation tribal member, Brandon Fish. He says the dismantling of the Clean Air and Clean Water Act are ways to once again invade and encroach on the last remaining Indigenous land that is treated as a Zion for the many.
The demonstration named, “Water is Sacred”, is a community organized event with both young and older members belonging to environmental justice organizations including Local Indigenous Network Collective, Sunrise Movement Missoula, Families for a Livable Climate, Montana Sierra Club and 350 Montana. They stand in solidarity with Missing and Murdered Indigenous People who suffer at the hands of earth extraction worker brought violence and with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in Canada who are currently defending sacred Water and Land from the government and the Coastal Gas Link company who are forcing an injunction to build their pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territories.