WASHINGTON (AP) — Native American tribal leaders are asking President Barack Obama to reject a permit for a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas.
The pipeline opponents plan to make their plea when leaders of the nation's 565 American Indian tribes meet with Obama on Friday in Washington. The administration has delayed the Keystone XL pipeline project until 2013.
Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Steele said his tribe fears toxic substances from the pipeline will contaminate a Missouri River water pipeline that cost the tribe $450 million and provides three reservations with potable water. He spoke at a press conference in Washington on Thursday.
Rosebud Sioux President Rodney Bordeaux said he fears damage to cultural sites. Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene Nation in Canada also spoke in opposition.
On Wednesday, a group of Republican senators unveiled legislation that would force the Obama administration to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days.
The bill would require the pipeline's federal permit to recognize an alternative route, approved by the State of Nebraska, that would avoid the Sand Hills. The company building the pipeline, TransCanada Inc., agreed to reroute the pipeline around that ecologically sensitive area after running into a firestorm of objections from Nebraskans on both sides of the issue.