Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 28, 2013

Pipeline under fire from native groups

TAHLEQUAH — The U.S. Senate on Monday approved a budget amendment that supports the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which has raised concerns among American Indians across the country – including in Oklahoma.

Casey Camp Horinek, a Ponca Indian who has been involved with the American Indian Movement since the 1970s, has joined forces with local resident and activist JoKay Dowell, Quawpaw/ Cherokee/Eastern Shawnee and Peoria, to raise awareness about the dangers the Keystone XL expansion creates.

“I am affiliated with about every group that is resisting Keytone XL,” said Horinek. “The Ponca people of north central Oklahoma have already been victimize, suffering from environmental genocide already.”

Horinek said the presence of Conoco-Phillips’ refinery, and spiderweb system of pipelines that come to and from that company near Ponca City, is just one of a number of environmental offenders that have created problems for her people.

“We are also dealing with Continental Carbon Black, a landfill that feeds into two leeching ponds on the Salt Fork River, and Ponca Iron and Metal that was polluting so horribly in the city that they moved it out of the city and into the Ponca peoples’ territory. All of these have polluted the air, the earth and the groundwater.”

According to Horinek, the Ponca is a tribe of 3,000, with 600 to 800 citizens living in the area between the Salt Fork River and the Arkansas River.

“We have averaged one funeral per week over the past five years,” said Horinek. “You can do the math on that. We’re suffering from cancers that have never been heard of, auto-immune diseases and others. We’ve been damaged psychologically, physiologically and economically. No business wants to locate to such a polluted place.”

Horinek said Keystone cut a backroom deal with three tribal members several years back, giving the company access to tribal land in exchange for $18,000 worth of playground equipment, much of which was never delivered.

“Or at least that’s the deal that was acknowledged and circulated among our people,” said Horinek. “We were in a reactionary position to try to stop that, but it was a done deal.”

As a result, the original Keystone Pipeline snakes through Ponca territory, running along fence lines right next to tribal property.

“We know from Keystone press releases that the pump stations they’ve installed on Ponca land have all failed,” said Horinek. “Again, this is all along the Salt Fork River.”

Horinek said the plans for the extension will cross through a number of sensitive ecosystems, particularly the Oglala Aquifer, which stretches from western Texas to South Dakota.

“Once the pipeline comes through Nebraska - aboriginal territory, it will follow along the lines of the Ponca Trail of Tears of 1877, furthering the damage done,” said Horinek. “On the trail, one in three died, and we’re still dying. When it finishes that trip, if Obama allows it to happen, it will arrive in Ponca territory and they will use the existing Keystone line that crosses through a number of tribal territories to Cushing, where Obama has already fast-tracked it and will continue through Creek, Seminole territory, on to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Dowell said some tribes were notified about the pipeline extension as far back as 2008.

“But notification is not consultation or consent,” said Dowell. “Oil and gas operations threaten native communities and sacred sites, with little or no compensation for the incalculable risks imposed by controversial practices like hydro-fracturing, or fracking, of Earth in earthquake zones; returning to the groundwater millions of gallons of fracking wastewater tainted with life-threatening benzene and toluene; huge pipelines running through pasture and playgrounds and beneath streams and creek beds; and more concerns.”

According to a study recently released by Columbia University and the U.S. Geological Survey, fracking can be linked to the 5.7 temblor near Prague on Nov. 6, 2011. According to the report, evidence has been found that wastewater from an active oil drilling operation was being pumped into a set of abandoned oil wells, putting increasing pressure on a documented fault that finally “jumped” under the stress. Overall, the study estimates an elevenfold increase in earthquakes occurring the nation’s midsection compared to 30 years ago.

Horinek said the product being extracted – bitumen – is not actually crude oil, but a substance that is more rock than anything. According  to Wikipedia, bitumen is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum, generally used in road construction.

“The process used to extract the substance requires eight barrels of oil to one barrel of bitumen,” said Horinek. “The cost far outweighs the benefit. It is such a heavy substance that it has to be injected with chemicals to make it thin enough to push through the pipeline. Pumping such a thick substance through the stations also raises the ground and water temperature in the area about 5 degrees.”

Horinek said the U.S. will not even be using the oil produced if the pipeline is approved.

“To add insult to injury, this is not even destined for the U.S. market,” said Horinek. “What will happen is that the world powers will bid on it, and it will most certainly go to China. We’ll have the environmental devastation, while another country benefits.”

Dowell said the extension, like the existing Keystone Pipeline, may be a foregone conclusion.

“Keystone Pipeline has been in the ground for years and for all practical purposes, KXL is, too,” said Dowell. “I see our efforts as more aggressive seeds being planted for the future. I hope that young people seeing us will continue to oppose such projects that choose profit over human health and safety.”

Horinek said a number of organizations have formed to resist KXL.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014

  • SR-WalkaMile1.jpg Walk a Mile 2014

    Men squeezed into feminine footwear Saturday by the hundreds to walk in solidarity with women on the issue of sexual violence – and their clop-clop-clopping echoed down Muskogee Avenue.
    The fourth annual “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” brought men to Norris Park, accompanied by their enthusiastic female supporters, to walk – and often wobble – in high heels over a mile-long course to raise funds for Help-In-Crisis.
    “It hurts every year,” said John Christie, a Sequoyah High School student participating in his third Walk a Mile. “I get home, sit down, blisters come up and the calves hurt. But it is worth it. It’s for a good cause.”

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • adams-christopher.jpg Michigan man gets 13 years on plea to rape, sodomy of girl

    A 28-year-old Michigan man will spend about 13 years in an Oklahoma state prison after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy involving a 13-year-old girl.
    Christopher Dale Adams, of Lake Orion, Mich., received a 13-year prison sentence for each of the five charges, to be followed by seven years suspended. All sentences will run concurrently.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • logan-amy.jpg Police take down pair on pot distribution charge

    Tahlequah police officers arrested a pair Sunday night for allegedly possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
    Tahlequah Officer Cody Warren said police were asked to investigate when 35-year-old Amy N. Logan, of Tahlequah, allegedly took a family member’s car without permission.
    While Warren was speaking with the owners of the vehicle, Logan arrived along with 26-year-old Theoplilus James Mollie, of Tulsa.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • land-lisa.jpg Two nailed with meth, pot hidden in bag of chips

    Two people were arrested early Monday morning when Tahlequah police stopped a vehicle near Basin Avenue and found methamphetamine and marijuana hidden in a bag of chips.
    Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said he noticed a Nissan heading north on Park Hill Road, and the vehicle later stopped in an intersection.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Stocks