Local pipeline protesters stand in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Environmental activists in central Virginia are stepping up to support a cause, far away from their own.

A Native American tribe's fight against the Dakota Pipeline has made national headlines in recent weeks. Local pipeline protesters say the tribal fight, is just as important, as their own.

On Monday dozens of protesters gathered in front of the Nelson County Courthouse to publicly show their support to the tribe's pipeline battle.

"They should not be forced to loose more of their culture," said rally organizer Sharon Ponton. "We as a country should be standing up in support of protecting them."

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily. The tribe has said they're concerned because the pipeline is set to be built on tribal land.

It's a type of battle environmental activists like Ponton understand well.

"We have been fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and others in Virginia, like the Mt. Valley Pipeline," said Ponton. "We certainly empathize with the current situation they are in, and we wanted to show our support."

Ponton says it's about more than a pipeline.

"No person who has property should be forced to lose that property, because an oil or gas company wants to take their land." said Ponton.

The Obama Administration has temporarily stopped construction, but local activists believe more can be done.

"Rather than just having a pause, it needs to stop." said Ponton. "The land and the earth, it's the only one we're ever going to have, so do we let the corporations destroy it for profit or do we stand up together and get our elected officials to say enough is enough?"

During the rally, protesters engaged in all types of outreach; from mass tweets, to petitions and demonstrations. t

The Nelson County protest was one of many nationwide standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

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