Issued October 01, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Service Employees International Union issued the following statement in support of the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from disturbing their sacred lands and burial grounds and to avoid the threat of contaminating the Missouri River which provides the Tribes’ drinking water.
“The two million members of SEIU stand beside the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to protect their sacred lands and burial grounds from being dug up if the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is allowed to continue as planned.
“This instance of disregard for the Standing Rock Sioux and the potential impact to their lives and livelihoods from a potentially hazardous crude oil pipeline is unfortunately not an isolated incidence. Over the last three years there have been over 200 known pipeline leaks in the United States. We call on the government to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe immediately and find a solution that will not pose risk to the Tribe, their water sources or their sacred grounds.
“The history, culture and lives of Tribal people, the first Americans, should be respected and protected. SEIU stands with them in assuring that what remains of their precious and sacred lands and resources are not be taken away from them once again.
“Historical disregard for low income communities and communities of color, including those where many SEIU members live and work, has subjected them to toxic air pollution and contaminated waterways for decades. In these communities, asthma and other respiratory ailments caused by toxic air and poisonous toxins such as lead in the water supply, affect our children’s health and ability to thrive. As the nation’s largest healthcare union, we stand with the growing movement of environmental organizations, businesses, students, parents and others demanding cleaner air and water and to address the growing threat of climate change for the health and safety of our families and communities.
“As a union of service employees deeply committed to making sure all work is valued and respected, we know that workers employed by the fossil fuel industry are caught in the middle. SEIU members recognize the importance of these jobs for these workers and their families and we demand that our government protect all workers whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by a shift away from fossil fuels. Our government must make the needed investments into building a new clean economy, including a just transition of workers from the fossil fuel workforce, by investing in clean energy and rebuilding and repairing much of our nations aging infrastructure, including existing pipelines which are in great need of repair. We will fight for an economy and democracy in which working families can live and work in a clean environment with good jobs for all.