AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, part of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project of Energy Transfer Partners costing $3.4 billion and slated to carry 470,000 to 570,000 barrels of oil per day across four states from the Bakken oil fields to a port in Illinois where it would be refined for shipment overseas, has thus far been constructed on land over which the Standing Rock Lakota have treaty rights; and

WHEREAS, this construction has damaged or destroyed sacred sites, including burial grounds; and

WHEREAS, this construction has been done without the consent and against the wishes of the Standing Rock Lakota; and

WHEREAS, the proposed completion of the pipeline would take it under Lake Oahe, a dammed section of the Missouri River less than a mile from the Standing Rock Lakota reservation, endangering their only water supply, as well as the drinking water of 18 million people downstream, should there be a leak; and

WHEREAS, leaks in oil pipelines, while under-reported in mainstream media, are not uncommon; and

WHEREAS, this pipeline was originally proposed to cross the Missouri River above Bismarck, North Dakota, until concerns about its threat to the safety of that city’s water supply were voiced and the project was redirected to the current location; and

WHEREAS, the oil from the Bakken oil fields is fracked oil, further casting in doubt the overall environmental impact of this project; and

WHEREAS, the wisdom of continued production of oil as an energy source is questioned by many scientists and environmentalists; and

WHEREAS, even if domestic oil production is deemed to be of sufficient importance, this oil is not for domestic consumption but instead for overseas sales; and

WHEREAS, the jobs resulting from this project are fewer in number than claimed, and green energy solutions will create more long-term employment in the building trades and other sectors; and

WHEREAS, the jobs promised to the American public and our brothers and sisters in the building trades resulting from this project are fewer in number than claimed by Energy Transfer Partners; and

WHEREAS, the Standing Rock Lakota and their water protector allies—representing more than 300 First Nation tribes, indigenous peoples from around the world and other concerned people—have nonviolently resisted efforts of Energy Transfer Partners and its allies—including the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, the national guard and law enforcement from nearby states—to install the pipeline; and

WHEREAS, their nonviolent, prayerful resistance has been met, even in subfreezing weather, with highway blockades, attack dogs and militarized police weaponry, including water cannon, sound cannon, frozen rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, constant noisy aerial surveillance and possible interference with the ability to communicate electronically with the outside world, among other military tactics; and

WHEREAS, U.S. military veterans who traveled to pipeline protest camps to put themselves between the militarized police and the unarmed water protectors have said that the sites of confrontation looked “like a war zone”; and

WHEREAS, Amnesty International has called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the policing of the Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrations; and

WHEREAS, the Department of the Army has published in the Federal Register a “Notice of Intent to require an Environmental Impact Statement” regarding Energy Transfer Partners’ request to drill under Lake Oahe in order to complete its pipeline:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers condemns the actions taken against those who are fighting to protect our environment, including the Standing Rock Lakota and their water protector allies; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT supports the Standing Rock Lakota in their opposition to the pipeline; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT supports the need for an Environmental Impact Statement; and

RESOLVED, that consistent with current policy, the AFT will continue to advocate for increased investment in our energy infrastructure with innovative approaches that fund and build the vital projects that will improve the competitiveness of our economy, the efficiency of our services, the safety of our environment, and the creation of good American jobs; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT shall communicate with President Donald Trump demanding that he provide clear documentation that he does not own stock in Energy Transfer Partners or Phillips 66, either directly or indirectly.



Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.