Oct 6, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Greta Thunberg to visit Standing Rock Reservation

Greta Thunberg.

Photo: Till Rimmele/Getty Images

16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will visit Standing Rock Reservation and the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota this week, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

Why it matters: Thunberg, who gave a scathing speech attacking world leaders for their inaction in the face of climate change at the United Nation's 2019 General Assembly, will be participating on panels about the environmental effects of 2 proposed oil pipelines that ignited protests in 2016 and 2017.

Details: Thunberg will participate on a panel on Sunday about the Keystone XL pipeline at the Red Cloud Indian School Field House on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

  • On Tuesday, she'll participate in a forum on the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock High School in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

Context: TC Energy's (formerly TransCanada) Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed addition to the Keystone Pipeline System. The Keystone XL would carry oil from Canada across Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska. In South Dakota, the XL would run near the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations.

  • TC Energy on Oct. 4 informed a federal court that it would begin preparing for the XL's construction in South Dakota and Montana, according to the Rapid City Journal.
  • The Keystone Pipeline System, which runs through eastern North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in eastern South Dakota on Nov. 17, 2017.

The Dakota Access Pipeline starts in North Dakota and runs for 1,172 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to oil terminals in Illinois.

  • In North Dakota, it runs near the Standing Rock Reservation and under Lake Oahe, the reservation's main source of water.
  • Lake Oahe's river crossing was the center of protests over potential water contamination and damage to sacred tribal sites in 2016 and 2017.

Of note: Thunberg will join fellow youth climate activist and indigenous rights advocate Tokata Iron Eyes on both panels.

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