Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 8, 2017

Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara want voice in pipeline code, by Lisa DeVille

Lisa DeVille
Letter the Editor

Censored News

By:  Lisa DeVille, President Fort Berthold Protectors of Water and Earth Rights

Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Tribal Business Council also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes is currently taking public comments on the proposed pipeline code that would create a pipeline authority on Fort Berthold.

The code will give the MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority the authority to issue a permit authorizing construction and installation of pipelines within Fort Berthold boundaries; issue power and authority to regulate abandoned pipelines, spills, leaks, bursts, contamination, and promulgate rules and policies regarding requirements for produced saltwater pipelines.

In whose best interest is it to rush out a pipeline code that does not have policies or rules written? Not the people of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara.

The Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Oil & Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling Program is in its 10th year on Fort Berthold and we have witnessed a high frequency of undetected oil industry pipeline leaks which turn into spills contaminating soils and waters within the West Segment and other segments on Fort Berthold where hydraulic fracking is occurring. The Crestwood Arrow pipeline committed at least five oil pipeline spills which these pipelines were less than five years old. The July 2014 Crestwood Arrow pipeline spilled frack fluid waste for days into an area upstream from the Mandaree community drinking water intake valve. The MHA Nation tribal government relied on the oil industry's estimate of at least 1 million gallons of the fracking waste fluids that pooled and spilled into the Bear Den Bay and into the Missouri River. Three years have passed and this site at Bear Den Bay has never been reclaimed.  Studies have shown that the radiation from the toxic water is concentrating in the soil.  Everything that toxic salt water touches dies.

I encourage the MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to consider setting up a public meeting to present the code to the public and conduct a public hearing on the proposed draft code in order for MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to receive questions on this proposed language, provide more information to tribal members, and for MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority to receive and record recommendations from the tribal citizen public for consideration into the formation of the MHA/TAT Pipeline Code processs."

We need strong regulations that are meant to protect our people, land, air, and water; we will be here after the oil is gone but these companies won’t be, but their contamination will be.

Please take the time to review the pipeline safety code, public comments are being taken until November 17, 2017 by 4:30.  Send your comments via mail to MHA/TAT Pipeline Authority Director, Travis Hallam Email:

Read more by Lisa DeVille: Methane Waste Disposal Rule Targeted

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