Canadian and U.S. native bands vow to block oil pipelines

Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:12pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, March 20 (Reuters) - An alliance of Canadian and U.S. aboriginal groups vowed on Wednesday to block three multibillion-dollar oil pipelines that are planned to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands, and said they are prepared to take physical action to stop them.

The Canadian government, faced with falling revenues thanks to pipeline bottlenecks and a glut that has cut the price for Alberta oil, say the projects are a national priority and will help diversify exports away from the U.S. market.

But the alliance of 10 native bands - all of whose territories are either in the crude-rich tar sands or on the proposed pipeline routes - complain Ottawa and Washington are ignoring their rights.

They also say building the pipelines would boost carbon-intensive oil sands production and therefore speed up the pace of climate change.

"Indigenous people are coming together with many many allies across the United States and Canada, and we will not allow these pipelines to cross our territories," said Phil Lane Jr, a hereditary chief from the Ihanktonwan Dakota in the state of South Dakota.

"Along with every single legal thing that can be done, there is direct action going on now to plan how to physically stop the pipelines," he told a news conference in Ottawa.

The pipeline projects in question are:

* TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL to Texas, which is awaiting approval from Washington   Continued...