On March 6, 2012, a group of dedicated advocates representing indigenous interests from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast flew to D.C. To stand up for the People. Over the course of two days (March 7 and 8), the delegation attended meetings with Sen. Bennet (CO) and Sen. Udall (CO), and with staff for Sen. Landrieu (LA), Sen. Nelson (NE), Sen. Johnson (SD), and Sen. Franken (MN). (Sen. Klobuchar (MN)’s staff was on the agenda but stood us up.) The delegation also met with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Bureau of Land Management.
The most pressing priority for the delegation was to stop the Senate from approving the “Hoeven amendment” to the transportation bill. The Hoeven amendment language would automatically approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline - no further studies or permits necessary.
The National Wildlife Federation strategically selected the Senators for the group to met with. Klobuchar, Bennet, Udall, and Johnson were among the “swing” votes on this issue.
Needing 60 votes to pass the amendment, the Senate took up the amendment on the afternoon of the 8th... and the Hoeven amendment failed 56-42!!!
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The delegation was also fortunate to be in D.C. on the evening of the global candlelight vigil held in front of Canadian embassies to protest tar sands oil extraction.
Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele and aboriginal activist Tantoo Cardinal, who hails from the heart of the tar sands, addressed the crowd.