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December 2, 2016

Sheriff Greg Champagne

President, National Sheriffs Association
St. Charles Parish Sheriff
15025 River Rd,
Hahnville, LA 70057
Dear Sir,
We write to you today concerning your recounting of your recent visit to North Dakota,
published on November 27 to the WWLTV website, as President of the National
Sheriffs Association.
We too have been to Standing Rock, yet our experiences appear to have been very
different than yours. While there, and at adjacent resistance camps, we have seen and
participated in only prayerful ceremony and actions - all of which included prayers for
yourself, the other officers and the families of all involved.
If you are looking as to who has engaged in acts of war, Sir, it might be best to see who
came for one. A simple Internet search will produce countless images of unarmed Water
Protectors being confronted by military-grade weaponry pointed at them by law
The several key points that you left out of your assessment require bearing to the public
in a way that travels beyond your extreme bias and obvious misunderstanding of both the
issue and of the local Louisiana landscape as well.
For instance, you neglected to mention that the Army Corps of Engineers a U.S. federal
agency under the Department of Defense has ordered a halt to any construction of the
Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River until a deeper environmental review
can be completed. (See:
Additionally, in your response, you infer that it is only the Missouri River where water
protectors have their concern. I assure you, strong opposition to this pipeline can be
found all along the route, particularly at the Mississippi River as well. (See:
With reference to your assertion that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has no claim to the
lands that the Dakota Access Pipeline disturbs, you show a complete disregard to both
history and the Constitution of the United States, which openly declares that treaty law is
the law of the land.

Under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty between the U.S. and the Great Sioux Nation,
Article 11, the tribe not only retains off-reservation hunting rights to the area, but also
under article 12, no cession of land would be valid unless approved by three-fourths of
the adult males. Yet, in an act of continuing land theft, the U.S. government has never
obtained that consent. An issue that the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed, stating, "A
more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found
in our history." (See:
You also mentioned sacred sites and burial grounds in your writings, yet you failed to
discuss the fact that on September 3rd of this year, only hours after Standing Rock Sioux
legal representation filed evidence in court that documented a culturally significant site in
direct line of the pipeline route, Energy Transfer sent bulldozers to destroy the location.
Paid company mercenaries, armed with dogs and pepper spray, were used to shield this
egregious and cowardly act, which ended with peaceful protectors being assaulted and
bitten. (See:
It is funny to us how you can, as you say, photograph and document at least half a
million dollars in damage to bulldozers and excavators, yet not one department or DAPL
security force has been able to snap a photo of a single Molotov cocktail, or various
missiles, such as rocks and logs being thrown.
Nor have you, or any rancher or department, been able to produce a single photo or
physical evidence of any of the carcass of any so-called dozen of buffalo you claim to
have been killed by protestors. A person would think after 200 years or so, these false
allegations would change or evolve in some way.
Regarding your claim that the tribe did not participate or engage in discussions much
early in the process of approving DAPL, your rumination is unfounded. The Standing
Rock Sioux Tribal Council went on record back in 2012, and again in 2014, as standing
in opposition to this pipeline crossing the Missouri River. (See:
So you see, Sir, the argument has always been about the water and protecting it for the
millions of Americans who depend upon it for drinking and thus for life.
Yet of all the ignorant and misguided remarks in your accounting, I take the most
extreme offense to the false idea and narrative that the environment and people of the
state in which you and I both reside have not suffered largely, due to the disproportionate
number of pipelines below our feet.
By your assertion, the opposition to the pipeline is not reasonably based upon legitimate
environmental concerns, yet since 2010, there have been over 3,300 leaks or ruptures of
crude oil or other hazardous liquids from pipelines in the United States. These incidents

have not only released toxic chemicals into soil, water, and air, but have also killed 80
people, injured 389 more, and collectively cost $2.8 billion in damages.
Louisiana is not excluded from these pipeline disasters. Since 1996, there have been 391
significant pipeline spills or leaks in Louisiana, spilling 216,166 barrels of hazardous
liquids, including crude oil, refined petroleum products, propane, ethane, etc. In just
crude oil alone, there were 208 reported leaks or spills, resulting in 124,861 barrels
The most recent oil spill from a pipeline in Louisiana was last September, in which over
5,300 gallons of crude oil was discharged, and 200 birds were oiled.
In late July of this year, there were three pipeline spills in ten days. These are not
uncommon incidents. In fact, the National Response Center receives approximately
1,500 oil spill notifications for Louisiana each year. This represents approximately
20 percent of all spills occurring in the United States.
Supplementary to your concern for our energy independence, it might be noted that
Dakota Access parent company Energy Transfer is also building the Bayou Bridge
Pipeline here in Louisiana. This pipeline that will cross 11 parishes in our state, displace
600 acres of wetlands, cross 700 bodies of water, and endanger life and livelihoods of
fisherfolk in the Atchafalaya Basin. The end point for this sister pipeline to Dakota
Access is being constructed with the singular goal of Energy Transfer and its partners
receiving opportunity for the best refining cost for their product, before exporting through
our ports to foreign countries across the globe. Both the Dakota Access and the Bayou
Bridge Pipelines are for the profit of this corporation only.
However, we will agree with you on one thing with regard to your report, facts do not
weigh in favor of the tribe or the water protectors, or the State of Louisiana for that
matter, when you simply refuse to see them.
Further, we stand with you when you say that it is time for everyone to move on in
reference to the Dakota Access Pipeline and stop putting further strain on the citizens and
law enforcement officers, - it is time to end this pipeline, as well as the Bayou Bridge.
#NoDAPL #NoBayouBridge #WaterIsLife
Cherri Foytlin
State Director of Bold Louisiana
Monique Verdin
Citizen of the United Houma Nation