Red Cloud takes pipeline fight to the PUC
This week Henry Red Cloud, the Democratic Party's candidate for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, travels to Cannon Ball, North Dakota to show his support for the people of Standing Rock and their allies in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
So just what do the growing public protests, the great-great grandson of Chief Red Cloud, and South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission have to do with each other?
Red Cloud puts it this way:
"People are uniting against the Dakota Access Pipeline because it is dangerous to people, their land and certainly for our irreplaceable water. Farmers, ranchers, tribal members and just regular citizens hear almost every day about another oil spill or pipeline bursting. We hear from their own engineers that the work they are doing is hurried. We can't allow them to put a pipeline under the Missouri River."
What many people do not realize, says Red Cloud, is that the Public Utilities Commission has an ongoing and important say in the pipeline's construction. The Commission is ultimately responsible for approving or rejecting many of the steps needed for pipelines to pass through South Dakota, and for other new energy projects.
The solar entrepreneur and recipient of international and national awards for his championing of renewable energy hopes to be elected to one of the three seats on the PUC. His goal is to represent South Dakotans who are concerned about the burgeoning network of pipelines and the resulting oil spills.
"We simply have to stop accepting and approving poorly planned and disastrous projects like this," he says.
Red Cloud says he will be a voice for those South Dakotans who are looking forward to a new era that will see South Dakota become a world class supplier of renewable energy.
"South Dakota has huge solar and wind resources and we can be a world leader in clean energy production," says Red Cloud. "My vision is for South Dakota to transition away from oil and become the renewable energy state."
The elections for the PUC are to be held on Tuesday, November 8th and voters will be able to vote in the state PUC election when they vote in the general federal election.
In the mean-time, Red Cloud will be visiting the water protectors at Standing Rock.
"I'll be bringing up a load of food and water and a couple of solar lighting systems. I wish I could do more."