Opposing the Siting of Liquefied Natural Gas Plants that Harm Tribal Lands, Reserved Rights, and Other Interests

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TITLE: Opposing the Siting of Liquefied Natural Gas Plants that Harm Tribal Lands, Reserved Rights, and Other Interests

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, since time immemorial, our economy, culture, religions and way of life have been centered around our fishing, hunting, and gathering resources, and the lands and waters upon which they depend, and we have been and remain careful and conscientious stewards over them to ensure their continued health and well-being; and

WHEREAS, tribes depend on natural resources to sustain our way of life; rights to fish, hunt and gather; our economies; and human health, as well as fulfill our sacred obligation to protect our First Foods and our most precious natural resource, water; and

WHEREAS, the tribes work tirelessly to protect tribal members’ health, safety, welfare, and futures both within and outside tribal reservations; and

WHEREAS, the tribes recognize that Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) could provide a cleaner fuel for ships, trucks, or cars than other fuel sources; however, tribes cannot accept tribal members and tribal lands bearing a disproportionate share of the risks posed by LNG facilities; and

WHEREAS, LNG storage could pose risks to human safety, human health, and natural resources due to explosive risks, spill risks, and risk to the health of natural resources relied upon by tribes; and

WHEREAS, tribes rely on sustainable resources that could face detrimental impacts from the construction and operation of LNG storage and fueling facilities; and
WHEREAS, the proponents of the Tacoma LNG Plant have begun substantial work on the project even where such work is subject to unmet permit conditions and permits that remain under appeal; and

WHEREAS, Federal, state and local authorities are responsible for enforcing permit conditions and responsible for ensuring permit compliance; and

WHEREAS, permits and other approvals for LNG facilities often require significant tribal consultation and public participation prior to issuance; and

WHEREAS, the failure to require full compliance with applicable legal requirements and permitting conditions, including tribal consultation and public participation, prior to initiating construction and expending significant resources often negatively impacts tribal interests; and

WHEREAS, unmet permit conditions and the failure to comply with applicable legal requirements should prohibit facility construction.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is opposed to the siting of LNG facilities that would harm tribal lands, reserved rights, and other interests, especially in the absence of full and meaningful tribal consultation and full public participation, as required by federal law; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI urges the disclosure of any risks associated with construction and operation of LNG facilities to ensure the risks of these facilities are not disproportionately absorbed by tribes and any risks are reduced for the public as a whole; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.