Proposed feedlot near White Earth Reservation abandoned

The White Earth Band announced that the 21,000-head dairy feedlot proposed by Riverview LLP has been abandoned.

The White Earth Band issued a two-year moratorium last November in response to the facility that White Earth said would threaten water resources on White Earth and in the 1855 Treaty Territory, citing substantial human and environmental concerns.

“This is a significant win for the White Earth Band, the tribal community members and the sacred resources of the White Earth Reservation and 1855 Treaty Territory,” said the Band’s environmental attorney, Jamie Konopacky.

Konopacky further noted that “it is unfortunate that the State of Minnesota’s water appropriation permitting and environmental review processes do not yet protect tribal sovereignty and reserved rights through explicit requirements. However, the White Earth Band independently evaluated and demonstrated potentially significant harms to tribal people and the environment.”

Konopacky further provided that “the Band’s success in stopping the Riverview East Norman CAFO project is a testament to its strength and dedication to environmental stewardship.”

According to Dustin Roy, Director of the White Earth Department of Natural Resources, “many White Earth tribal members subsist off the land and water resources found within the White Earth Reservation and surrounding 1855 Treaty Territory.”

Roy went on to make clear that “tribal members abide by a sacred duty to protect these resources, which provide so much for us in return.”

Roy noted that “the Riverview company recently began operating a 10,500-animal Waukon dairy CAFO without consent from the Band in the 1855 Treaty Territory” and “Riverview’s environmental assessments for both the newly operational Waukon CAFO and abandoned East Norman CAFO reflect that the company pays zero attention to the health and welfare of tribal people or Tribes’ federally protected resources when developing its factory farm operations.”

“The White Earth Band, through its community and Department of Natural Resources, works hard to protect and restore water resources and aquatic life.” said Will Bement, White Earth Fisheries Director.

“For over two decades, the Band, working with tribal, state and federal partners, has worked tirelessly to reintroduce sacred sturgeon to our waterways, and the Riverview East Norman CAFO facility, through hundreds of millions of gallons of water appropriations and manure waste annually, threatened to undermine our water protection and restoration efforts.”

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