BISMARCK, N.D. – A United Nations group that represents indigenous people around the world says the U.S. government appears to be ignoring the treaty rights and human rights of American Indians opposing the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline.
The statement is from the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It came after forum member Edward John spent three days at a camp in North Dakota that’s drawn hundreds of protesters against the 1,200-mile pipeline to carry North Dakota oil to Illinois.
Nearly 470 protesters have been arrested supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
John says he met with both protesters and law officers. He says he found a “war zone” atmosphere.
President Barack Obama said earlier this month his administration is monitoring the situation.
The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would transport crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and into Illinois.
The underground pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which would be sent to markets and refineries in the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, according to Energy Transfer Crude Oil Co.
However, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the pipeline would come within a half-mile of their reservation and could disturb or destroy sacred historical sites.
Also, tribal leaders are concerned about the consequences the pipeline would have on their water supply.