, White Shield, spokesperson for the Environmental Awareness Committee of Fort Berthold
, said the group is concerned about water, air and soil pollution from a refinery.The committee plans a series of meetings this spring to discuss environmental issues related to the refinery.
"We thought we would try to oppose this through awareness," White
said plant officials in previous community meetings have failed to specify the state-of-the-art technologies that will be used to protect the environment.The EPA
lists more than 600 toxic chemicals that are created in the refining process, she
"It's really scary.I am really worried for the people of Makoti," she
said."There's a school right there as well as the people of the surrounding area."
The committee also is concerned about a plan is to graze bison on land around the refinery.The Environmental Awareness Committee
has involved about 26 people at this point, White
said.The group's main concern is the refinery, but White
said it also is interested in the lignite industry and other environmental issues that affect people living on Fort Berthold.
The committee has invited representatives of Refinery Reform
, an national group interested in cleaning up refineries, to speak at workshops to be scheduled in Fort Berthold communities this spring.
The committee is troubled by the lack of oversight by the State Health Department
on the refinery, White
said.The tribe is sovereign in its ability to oversee environmental regulations, although it does work with the federal EPA.Also, there is no separation of powers in tribal government to ensure those promoting the project also aren't the ones regulating it, White
"We have a lot of concerns because of that, with the control of the regulatory aspects and the monitoring aspects associated with this proposed refinery," she