Carol A. Hand
The news from Standing Rock, North Dakota, is alarming. I’m not sure if the link below will take to you to a recent video of escalating police violence, but it greeted me this morning when I visited Facebook.
The video inspired me to follow through with something I intended to do yesterday. Posted below is a copy of the letter I just emailed to the Governor of Minnesota. I hope Governor Dayton is more supportive and responsive than President Obama was when I sent him a similar message.
November 22, 2016
Honorable Governor Mark Dayton
Office of the Governor and Lt Governor
116 Veterans Service Building
20 W 12th Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
RE: Minnesota Police Presence in Standing Rock, North Dakota
Dear Governor Dayton,
I am writing to request your assistance. I was alarmed to discover that that the taxes I pay as a Minnesota State citizen are being used to fund a militarized police presence in support of corporate actions that disregard treaties and threaten the well-being of millions of people for short-term financial profits. Ironic, isn’t it, that the State with a name that means “sky-tinted water” in the Dakota language is now engaged in attacking peaceful Standing Rock Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Water Protectors? This is an unwise use of State revenues, and from my perspective, an immoral one.
Please address two simple questions. Is this a fiscally sound investment in the future? Instead of first considering the impact of issues involved in building yet another pipeline to ship toxic non-renewable pollution-generating fuels, Minnesota has chosen a path that can only result in the escalation of conflict with the certainty of serious costs in terms of lives and environmental destruction. Why would our State deliberately choose to support a corporate venture that threatens the very water that blessed this State with its name?
How is it wise policy to invest in expanding technologies that will soon be obsolete? Fossil fuels will ultimately be exhausted. Burning them produces toxins that result in many life-threatening illnesses. Burning fossil fuels also hastens the onset and severity of global climate change. Why defend the expansion of pipelines, a technology that has proven to be disastrous so many times in the past? Experience shows very clearly that once waters are poisoned, it’s too late. Even if corporations foot the bill for clean-up, it will take many generations, or perhaps longer, for water to be safe.
Our State can make wiser decisions about the use of fiscal resources impacting our natural resources and people. One, we can make decisions that prevent disasters. No more facking. No more pipelines. Two, we can invest in and build for the future. Why not use those same fiscal resources to retool? To build and transition to alternative energy-generation technologies? Why not invest in education for youth and those presently unemployed to equip them with the scientific knowledge and technical skills necessary for the transition to alternative energy technology?
The choices are clear. The path Minnesota has chosen locks us into outdated and dangerous technologies and threatens the well-being of the earth and future generations. It is already causing harm to our water and related resources and threatening the lives of peaceful Water Protectors. It’s not too late to choose a wiser course. Let us ask Minnesota’s police to lay down their weapons and stand in peaceful solidarity with the Standing Rock Water Protectors. Because the Water Protectors stand for all of us.
We should honor the traditional wisdom of Minnesota’s original inhabitants. “Mni wiconi” – “Water is life” in the Lakota language. “Nibi zhaawendaawak” – “Water is sacred” in Ojibwe. We owe it to our grandchildren’s children to protect the purity and pristine beauty of the “sky-tinted waters” of Minnesota.
Dr. Carol A. Hand
Here’s a link to the Governor Dayton’s website in case you wish to make your views known: https://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/