BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2018
Ann Rogers, Section 106 Coordinator, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, 540-312-3104, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Ferster, Attorney-at-Law, 202-974-5142, email@example.com
BREDL and Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officers file in D.C. Court
Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens areas claimed by Sioux as having spiritual significance
ROCKY MOUNT, VA—The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and its five co-plaintiffs, including the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) of the Rosebud Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes of South Dakota, filed a reply on Monday, August 27 to the opposition of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to our emergency motion for stay submitted to the D.C. Circuit Court earlier in August. The emergency stay would halt construction on the MVP until the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) have been met with regard to consultation with Indian tribes.
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The MVP is a 42-inch natural gas pipeline currently under construction between Wetzel County, WV and an electric power generating station in Pittsylvania County, VA. Passing through six Virginia counties, the MVP will convey natural gas that has been fracked in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Appalachian Basin.
Today, FERC issued approval for continuation of construction on the non-federal portions of the MVP through a modification of its Stop Work Order of August 3.
BREDL’s co-plaintiffs in this legal challenge under Section 106 include: Ben Rhodd, THPO, Rosebud Sioux Tribe; Steve Vance, THPO, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; Preserve Montgomery County VA, a grassroots organization; and Mike and Elizabeth Reynolds, landowners in Bent Mountain, VA whose property containing a significant Native American archaeological site will be used to build and operate a “lay down yard” for the MVP. The lawsuit was initiated and is being financed by BREDL chapter organizations, Preserve Roanoke and Preserve Franklin.
Section 106 requires agencies such as FERC to “consult with Indian tribes when they attach religious and cultural significance to a historic property regardless of the location of that property. The circumstances of history may have resulted in an Indian tribe now being located a great distance from its ancestral homelands and places of importance.”
When the Sioux THPOs first visited archaeological sites in the MVP project area in Franklin and Roanoke Counties on March 4 and 5, they shared with local residents their tribes’ tradition of having lived in our part of Virginia. The fact that Siouan tribes lived in the MVP project area was confirmed by research conducted in April by BREDL and Preserve Montgomery County VA. That research was submitted in an April filing to FERC, which said, “The linguistic and historic connection between the Siouans of Appalachian/Piedmont Virginia and the western Sioux tribes legitimizes the desire on the part of the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Sioux Tribes to participate in the Section 106 process for the MVP as, indeed, the MVP study area is one of the places where their forebears resided in the distant past. The relationship of the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Sioux tribes to Appalachian/Piedmont Virginia is precisely the type of relationship address by the National Historic Preservation Act when it says, ‘The circumstances of history may have resulted in an Indian tribe now being located a great distance from its ancestral homelands and places of importance.’”
Founded in 1984, BREDL is a regional, community-based, non-profit environmental organization whose founding principles are earth stewardship, environmental democracy, social justice, and community empowerment. BREDL has 42 active and 106 emeritus chapter organizations in eight states in the southeastern U.S.