Nothing in the Memorandum addresses these considerations, and the easement to undertake Dakota Access Pipeline construction under the Missouri River has not been granted. Yet, the Memorandum’s release on President Trump’s fifth day in office invites profound concern for religious communities, which have heavily invested in solidarity efforts to protect Standing Rock Sioux treaty lands and water.
United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Minister Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt said the Trump Administration’s actions today “have revived the dinosaurs of an obsolete and destructive energy system.” He went on to urge Christians everywhere, “If you care about the people of Standing Rock, if you care about the world we are giving to our children and grandchildren, then now is the time to act. Corporate greed must no longer trample over love of neighbor and love of those dear to us.”
Creation Justice Ministries Executive Director Shantha Ready Alonso responded to the news: “This was a brash decision by an Administration that claims to care about clean water and local decision-making power. I hope and pray this Memorandum does not set the tone for the Trump Administration’s posture toward matters of environmental justice and indigenous rights. As Christians, we are committed to responsible stewardship of the gifts of God’s creation, and to respecting the sovereignty of our indigenous brothers and sisters. We call on the Administration to respect indigenous rights and the safety of drinking water for millions.
Locally, as they have consistently done from the beginning of their resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on their treaty lands, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are maintaining a posture of strength through prayer.
Episcopal Deacon Brandon Mauai of Standing Rock said of today’s announcement, “We need to pray that every person in a decision-making position takes into consideration that authorizing this pipeline will harm the people of Standing Rock. We continue to pray for all leadership, including our President Donald Trump. We pray we can reach a conclusion that will not harm any life, and the Church takes the side of creation and the people.”
Creation Justice Ministries represents the creation care policies of 38 Christian communions, including Baptists, mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches, Peace Churches, and Orthodox communions. Learn more at www.creationjustice.org