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Protect Indigenous sacred sites now

Delivery to President Biden

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What’s At Stake

Far too often, projects that affect Native lands, waters, and resources begin construction without proper consent, forcing tribal communities and Native peoples to the frontlines to fight for what should already be protected by law. Tell President Biden to recognize the traditional, legal, and moral rights of Native nations and Indigenous peoples to protect sacred places.

Our clients take on the fight every day to protect shared lands and waters from destructive fossil fuel projects. For years, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been defending its drinking water and homeland from potentially irreversible contamination from the Dakota Access pipeline. The Anishinaabe people of northern Minnesota are actively resisting the construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in the heart of territory where they retain the rights to hunt, fish, and harvest wild rice and other plants. And in Michigan, the Bay Mills Indian Community is fighting to protect its ancestral waters in the Great Lakes from Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline.

There is no time to waste to protect the most sacred places where Indigenous peoples pray, gather traditional foods and medicines, get drinking water, and continue the cultural practices of their ancestors. We are in an environmental, climate, and social justice crisis. Indigenous peoples care for and protect 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity — environmental advocacy must include advocacy for Indigenous rights.

We call on President Biden to issue an executive order directing all federal agencies to require the engagement and consent of affected Native nations early in the planning process and before a project is approved.

Native nations must be part of the decision-making process. No more oil pipelines threatening water supplies without the consent of tribes. No more oil and gas drilling in ancient burial sites without tribal permission. No more large-scale projects without tribes’ participation and consent.

The U.S. must uphold the rights of Native nations and Indigenous peoples to Free, Prior & Informed Consent, as set forth by the United Nations.

Red Road to DC event at Bears Ears, Utah. on July 17, 2021.
Wingspan Media

Red Road to DC event at Bears Ears, Utah. on July 17, 2021.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.