LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - The Keystone XL pipeline project has been a hot topic for many since its construction. The latest group to speak about it are the northern Native American tribes.
Alabama Coushatta leader Carlos Bullock said some tribe members say the controversial pipeline violated tribal policy within the Native American government.
"The Keystone has been a very controversial issue for Native Americans because it affects many tribes up north," Bullock said.
The pipeline has been making headlines since the project's paper work was filed in 2008.
Some supporters say the pipeline will provide jobs and an abundance of oil to the US. While opponents argue the project harms the environment, Bullock said tribe members are just defending their rights.
"They are trying to project their environmental rights, sacred rights, and their land rights," Bullock said.
He said the northern Native American tribes' main concern is that the pipeline would be forcefully going through their land.
"They also feel that they were not consulted during the process of the Keystone project, and their elected representatives weren't supporting their stance," Bullock said.
Bullock said his tribe respects the opposition of the northern tribes but said there is a lot that they can gain from the pipeline project. Bullock said oil and gas was found on his tribe's land about 20 years ago, and as a result, they now have roughly 10 live wells.
"Our tribe has seen the benefits of the oil and gas," Bullock said.
He added health insurance, buildings, and several projects have been funded by oil and gas proceeds.
Bullock said going forward, he hopes both sides can come to an agreement, but for now, things are at a standstill.
According to the Associated Press, The US Senate Democrats defeated the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.