GreenLatinos has partnered with Sierra Club to release a post-election nationwide poll of Latino voters and their perspectives on critical environmental and conservation issues.
Latinos are cultural conservationists. Our belief that we are the stewards of our earth is not based on a membership, it is passed down from generation to generation as part of our proud heritage. This poll affirms that Latinos' belief that we have 'a moral responsibility to take care of the earth' is virtually unanimous and that we expect our elected and appointed officials to maintain and enforce vital protections of our air, water, and climate.
President Barack Obama Stand with Standing Rock!
November 12, 2016
Dear President Obama:
We agree with you, and with our Native American sisters and brothers regarding the proposed Dakota pipeline that would run along sacred grounds at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation: “[T]here is a way for us to accommodate the sacred lands of Native Americans.”
Indeed there is a way to respect the Sioux people and sacred grounds by guarding against the proposed pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must withhold permits for the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline because the pipeline would cross a navigable waterway. The Army Corps of Engineers emphasizes that permits and projects on navigable waterways including rivers need to comply with the President’s Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice and health. See Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration, Integrated Feasibility Report: Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Sept. 2015). The same reasoning applies to the proposed Dakota pipeline.
The Order protects Native Americans against unjustified and unnecessary discriminatory impacts, as well as intentional discrimination, in permitting decisions by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Order requires the Corps to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities, including permitting decisions on Indian tribes and other minority and low income populations. Environmental justice concerns may arise, as they do here, from impacts on the natural and physical environment, including human health and ecological impacts, and from related social or economic impacts.
What are the pipeline’s merits and its true costs, including the risk of harm to the sacred lands, with full and fair participation by Native Americans? Who would benefit from alternative routes, and who would be harmed?
The Dakota and Lakota of the Standing Rock tribe at Standing Rock face the risk of grave damage to their sacred grounds and water supply from the proposed pipeline and permitting decision. No one else does. The proposed route threatens places that have been part of the Sioux’s ancestral lands since antiquity. Construction, leaks, and spills would damage their sites of deep cultural and historic significance, including burial grounds. The pipeline was shifted towards the tribe’s sacred lands, away from Bismarck, N.D., because federal regulators saw it as a potential threat to that city’s water supply. The threats cannot be shifted from the city to the Dakota and Lakota of the Standing Rock tribe.
The pipeline would move half a million barrels of crude oil a day across the Plains. “But in a time of oil gluts and plummeting oil prices, is it worth it? Is it worth the degradation of the environment, the danger to the water, the insult to the heritage of the Sioux,” asks The New York Times. The answer is a resounding No!
The threats to the sacred lands at Standing Rock reflect a history and pattern of discrimination against the Sioux. A national monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota lies not far away. The monument stands on sacred land, that land was stolen from the Sioux by the government and plundered for gold, and the monument celebrates the settlers who took so much of the Native American lives, culture, and land.
Under President George W. Bush, the Secretary of the Navy and a Major General in the Marine Corps each wrote a letter against a proposed toll road project that would have devastated the Native American Acjachemen sacred site of Panhe and San Onofre State Beach in Southern California in 2010. The Secretary of Commerce upheld the decision to stop the project. The California Coastal Commission stopped the project in part becauase of the impact on Native Americans alone. The U.S. Army should stop the project along the Native American sacred grounds.
Enough is enough. Please do not allow the proposed pipeline to threaten the Lakota and Dakota people and their sacred grounds at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army Corps of Engineers must deny any permit that threatens these values. Thank you.
Very truly yours,
President & CEO GreenLatinos
GreenLatinos Board Member
Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project
Robert (Bob) Bracamontes
Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal (Black Crow)
Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe
The tragedy of Flint has taught us a great deal about how poor governance can lead to a poisoning of a community. It happened after a decade or more of waning attention to crucial environmental concerns down at the level where Americans live, in their neighborhoods and in homes, particularly for the most vulnerable populations. What is particularly troubling about the crisis in Flint is that it is a clear example of how communities of color and low-income communities are often left behind. It's not surprising that a predominantly low-income, predominantly African-American city is facing the most egregious form of environmental injustice. Those who depend the most on government too often are the ones facing the greatest harm, and lack the know-how and political power to address the damage, risk and discrimination they face from this unequal protection. Worse, in some cases, the elected officials that claim to represent them turn a blind eye. Unfortunately, Flint is just one example.read more
May 03, 2016Continue reading
GreenLatinos is excited to Announce that the organization will host one of nine Frank Karel Fellows in 2016. The Karel Fellowship honors and advances the legacy of Frank Karel, who established, led and nurtured the field of strategic communications during his 30 years as chief communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations. Karel believed that racial and ethnic minorities were underrepresented in the public interest communications field and that foundations and public interest organizations needed to be proactive in recruiting and nurturing broader participation and leadership in public interest communications and advocacy.read more
Several weeks ago a coalition of Puerto Rican residents who have come together under the name “Puerto Rico Limpio” reached out to me about their struggles with several landfills that were environmental hazards to a number of their communities. The group members had heard that GreenLatinos was effective in tackling serious environmental issues impacting Latinos, that we had several successes at the federal level, and they wanted us to come to down to Puerto Rico and see first-hand what they continue to deal with every day.read more
Latino and Indigenous Leaders Call for an Investigation into the Assassination of Lenca Environment Activist Berta CáceresFULL STATEMENT PDF HERE Latino and Indigenous Leaders Call for an Investigation into the Assassination of Lenca Environment Activist Berta Cáceres, Justice for Those Responsible Solidarity Statement Demands Increased Protection for Environmental and Human Rights Activists throughout the Americas. Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday, March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a Lenca environmental activist and indigenous leader in Honduras, was assassinated in her home while she slept. The prescient words she spoke upon receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize came true: “The Lenca people are ancestral guardians of the rivers, in turn protected by the spirit of the young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well-being of humanity and this planet.” Berta Cáceres, 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner We express our condolences to her family, COPINH, and all those who knew her and loved her. We are deeply outraged for this senseless act and echo the words shared by so many indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights leaders, and environmental organizations - there must be accountability and justice. Berta Caceres was honored and celebrated for her work in Honduras fighting for the right of self-determination of the Lenca people who were not consulted and did not consent to the Agua Zarca Dam projected for construction on the sacred Gaualcarque River. Her leadership and advocacy helped pressure the International Finance Corporation to withdraw from funding the project in 2013.read more