SPOKANE, Wash. – Despite being hundreds of miles away from North Dakota, the Spokane City Council passed a resolution on Monday in support of the peaceful protesters involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The resolution passed five to two. While there was overwhelming support for these protests, some people at the meeting Monday wondered if it was really city business.
“I don’t believe it is the council’s place to take sides, factor one group of people over another,” said Mike Fagan of the Spokane City Council. “We are supposed to be looking at things from an equity, equality standpoint.”
Council president Ben Stuckart countered by comparing the issue at hand on a local level.
“Think about if they were with bulldozers and they were out on Government Way, how would you feel if they were bulldozing your ancestors?”
It has been an ongoing battle since April. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its supporters said they have to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“It’s not just about the Standing Rock Sioux,” said David BrownEagle, the vice chair of the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
“it’s about what they represent to all of us,” he said.
The Sioux Tribe said the pipeline would destroy their land and contaminate their water supply. The proposed pipeline would carry more than half-a-million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois – every day.
An issue many local tribal members said they understand. They credit Spokane City Council for working to protect the Spokane River from contamination, and its efforts to address the dangers of oil trains.
Rick Layton though, said people should not protest oil when the nation depends on it.
“By using those products, while at the same time protesting and attempting to choke off the supply of them. Maybe it’s just hypocrisy, I don’t know,” Layton said.
George McGrath pointed to other successful pipelines.
“We’ve got the Alaskan Pipelines, that was something that has been in existence for many years now successfully,” he said.
In the end though, the council passed a resolution to support “peaceful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline” joining nearly 200 Indian nations and other governmental bodies across the country to show their support.