- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Native American tribes discussed ways to protect their land and resources while furthering energy production during a natural resources panel at a summit in Bismarck.

The discussion was part of the United Tribes 2015 Tribal Leaders Summit on Wednesday at the Bismarck Event Center, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1NrnUyY ) reported.

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa member Carol Ann Davis has been working to prevent hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, on her reservation since 2011. The process involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow, Davis said, adding that the tribe believes the chemicals don’t always stay inside the well after they are pumped in.

After a public meeting in 2011, a movement against fracking blossomed on the Turtle Mountain Revelation, leading to the adoption of a “No Fracking Resolution.”

“What we must do is look out for our people,” Davis said. “We got thank you cards for protecting our water.”

Meanwhile, the Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes oppose a section of the Keystone XL Pipeline that will run one mile outside the Cheyenne River reservation.

South Dakota originally granted a permit to TransCanada for the project in 2010, but the company now has to certify the permit because no work has been done since that time, said Tracey Zephier, a partner for Native American law firm Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan. The two tribes oppose the certification because they believe the pipeline isn’t safe, she said.

“It’s all for our water, it’s all for our land. We’re going to keep up the fight,” said Zephier, adding that the tribes would appeal if the certification is granted.

Additionally, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Spirit Lake Nation tribes are the first among eight tribes to sign a charter to connect the region’s power grid to one west of the state. One the charter is passed, the grids can be connected, Zephier said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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