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Group, UNLV students stand in solidarity with pipeline-protesting tribe

Protests can pay off, NextGen Climate Nevada said Tuesday, but the causes for those protests persist. So the group asked UNLV students to join its push for change.

NextGen Climate Nevada, which aims to educate millennials on climate and the environment, on Tuesday stood in solidarity with University of Nevada, Las Vegas students to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

For weeks, the tribe has protested a $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline, or DAPL, which is under construction and slated to run through North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The tribe said the pipeline will threaten sacred burial sites and threaten its drinking water.

National Public Radio reported that on Friday the Justice Department, the Department of the Army and the Interior Department announced that construction in an area of Army Corps of Engineers’ land that is particularly significant to the tribe will not proceed pending further evaluation.

“This is a great victory for human rights,” said Marco Rauda, NextGen Climate Nevada’s state director. “While the pipeline raises environmental issues, its construction is fundamentally a human rights issue — it shows a blatant disrespect for the rights of native peoples.”

Although the pipeline is stalled for now, NextGen Climate continued to push for climate and environmental awareness. About 15 students rallied in the free-speech zone on the university’s campus with NextGen Climate.

“We’re standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe because environmental protection affects all of us,” Maurice Forbes, NextGen Climate Nevada’s regional field director said.

“Our future rests in transitioning to clean energy,” he said. “It’s an issue that’s going to affect us and future generations to come.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had approved the pipeline, which can carry a half-million barrels of oil, to cross under the Missouri River a mile north of the tribe’s reservation.

On Tuesday, the protesters echoed the tribe’s sentiments against the project. They stood and walked along the zone, chanting “We Don’t Drink Oil, Keep It in the Soil,” “Water is Life!” and “We Stand with Standing Rock.”

NPR reported that in Friday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg acknowledged that “the United States’ relationship with the Indian tribes has been contentious and tragic.” He added that the Army Corps “likely complied” with its obligation to consult the tribe, and said the tribe “has not shown it will suffer injury that would be prevented by any injunction the Court could issue.”

The federal government called upon Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily halt all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it would re-evaluate construction permits because of the issues the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe raised.

Contact Raven Jackson at rjackson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Follow @ravenmjackson on Twitter.

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