SEHN

Visionary Science, Ethics, Law and Action in the Public Interest

SEHN Urges President Obama to Protect Rights of the Standing Rock Water Protectors

President Obama: Cease Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline Immediately; Compel Department of Justice Investigation into Law Enforcement Treatment of Water Protectors    

North Dakota and Iowa— On the night of November 20th, over mainstream and social media, the world witnessed the militarized, violent and unjust treatment of those assembled at Standing Rock defending the waters. Water cannons were discharged in below-freezing temperatures, along with tear gas, percussion grenades and rubber bullets. The Board of Directors and staff of the Science and Environmental Health Network have issued the following letter to President Obama. “We write to denounce the violent, unjust treatment of those committed to protecting the safety and sanctity of land and water. We ask that you deploy the Federal Marshalls to cease construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to compel a Department of Justice investigation into the excessive use of force on behalf of law enforcement. To weaponize water against those committed to its protection adds further insult to already grave injury.”

Download the letter for print here.


To President Obama,

We, the Board of Directors and staff of The Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), affirm our support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the water protectors gathered in both North Dakota and Iowa to safeguard the Missouri River, a vital source of water for millions. For over two decades, SEHN has provided expertise in science, medicine, policy and law to inform effective decisions that protect public health and the environment, and preserve a livable, just planet for future generations. As such, we have been involved in challenging the Dakota Access pipeline and its imminent threat to drinking water for the last 2.5 years.

 

We ask that you, President Obama, use your power to protect drinking water, treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

 

On the night of November 20th, over mainstream and social media, the world witnessed the militarized, violent and unjust treatment of those assembled as water protectors at Standing Rock. Water cannons were discharged in below-freezing temperatures, along with tear gas, percussion grenades and rubber bullets. The Indigenous Environmental Network reports that one hundred sixty-seven people were injured, and seven hospitalized. This was not an isolated incident. We cannot be silent in the face of such violence, nor can you, President Obama.

 

We write to denounce the unjust treatment of those committed to protecting the safety and sanctity of land and water.

 

We ask that you deploy the Federal Marshalls to cease construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, for which the 408 permit to drill beneath the Missouri River has not been secured.

 

Second, we ask that you compel the Department of Justice to investigate North Dakota law enforcement for the violation of the civil rights of those assembled in protection of the river/water. To weaponize water against those committed to its protection adds further insult to already grave injury.

 

The Science and Environmental Health Network stands with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and indigenous peoples from across the United States who act in defense of water, too. With this letter, we speak in affirmation of treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and for the protection of water, sacred sites and a livable climate.

 

Swift federal intervention is critical. Standing Rock is a watershed moment in your administration, and your legacy hangs in the balance.

 

With concern,

The Science and Environmental Health Network

Madeleine Scammell, DSc, Board President
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
Peter Montague, PhD
Bhavna Shamasunder, PhD
Benno Friedman
Angie Carter, PhD
Rebecca Altman, PhD
Sandra Steingraber, PhD Emeritus
Carolyn Raffensperger, MA, JD, Executive Director
Dr. Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director
Ann Manning, MA, MPA, Associate Director
Sherri Seidmon, Finance Director
Kaitlin Butler, MA, Program Director