South Dakota tribes weigh in on Mountain Valley Pipeline

Published: Aug. 9, 2018 at 8:15 PM EDT
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When we hiked though the woods on Bent Mountain in mid-March, we saw archeological work under way along the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

But representatives of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota say they believe contractors hired by the pipeline company have missed sites of significance.

Ben Rhodd is Tribal Historic Preservation Officer with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He has submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and says a formal report is in the works.

"We definitively have cultural interest in that area," Rhodd told WDBJ7 in a telephone interview Thursday, "and site types that we recognize here on the plains are what we observed there also."

Rhodd and others from the two tribes visited the area twice, surveying sites in Roanoke County and Franklin County.

Rhodd said inadequate surveys will lead to the destruction of sites considered significant to native tribes and their descendants.

"Bottom line is there was a failure of FERC to consult properly with the descendant groups of the people who have cultural resources within that region and along that pipeline route," Rhodd said.

MVP has defended its review of cultural and historic resources in the past, noting it has met the requirements of regulators and adjusted the route of the pipeline to minimize impacts.

On Thursday, a spokesperson issued the following statement:

"The MVP project team stands behind its methodologies and analyses, as demonstrated in the detailed cultural resources reports submitted to the agencies.”

Representatives of the two tribes say a more complete survey should be undertaken along the entire route of the pipeline.