Protestors arrested as Dakota Access Pipeline company pledges to continue construction

September 13, 2016 by  
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The company behind the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline , which would extend across 1,168 miles and four US states, has stated it plans to  move forward with the project . This announcement comes on the heels of worldwide protests and after the US government stepped in to temporarily block construction on federal land. Some protestors, who locked themselves to construction machinery, were arrested on Tuesday after causing construction to grind to a halt. Last Friday, a federal judge rejected an attempt by Standing Rock Sioux tribal leaders to halt the pipeline ’s construction, only to have the US government block the undertaking moments later. This has not shaken Energy Transfer , the company behind the pipeline, whose chief executive Kelcy Warren told The Guardian , “We intend to meet with officials in Washington to understand their position and reiterate our commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation.” Related: Oil company sics attack dogs on Native American protestors in North Dakota The claims that “tremendous safety factors” are in place to prevent any potential leaks and damage to the environment or local water supplies are not swaying protesters, who have assembled in the US, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand in opposition of the project. According to Red Warrior Camp , while construction has been halted in the 40 miles surrounding Lake Oahe, it continues unimpeded elsewhere along the pipeline pathway. On Tuesday, protestors locked themselves to construction equipment, resulting in law enforcement arriving with rifles and riot gear and 20 “water protectors” being arrested. “It is unfortunate that the corporate world chooses to ignore the millions of people and hundreds of tribal nations who stand in opposition to the destruction of our lands, resources , waters, and sacred sites,” expressed Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. “Our fight isn’t over until there is permanent protection of our people and resources from the pipeline.” Via The Guardian  and Red Warrior Camp Images via Red Warrior Camp  and Sacred Stone Camp

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Protestors arrested as Dakota Access Pipeline company pledges to continue construction

What is the Dakota Access Pipeline project? We explain…

September 13, 2016 by  
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Dominating the headlines this past week has been coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the ensuing protests by both Native American tribes and environmental groups who oppose the construction and operation of the project. The pipeline developers promise economic benefits and a reduced dependence on foreign energy, while native tribes, in particular, the Standing Rock Sioux , lambast the project for the threat it poses to sacred land and their drinking water supply . To understand what is happening with this rapidly developing situation, here are five things to know about the project and the people involved. What is the Dakota Access Pipeline project? The Dakota Access Pipeline would bring crude oil across 1,168 miles and four states from the oil-rich Bakken Formation area of North Dakota all the way to Illinois. Also referred to as the Bakken Pipeline, the project would carry 470,000 barrels of crude oil to refineries and markets each day, according to CNN . The Bakken Formation is a unit of rock spanning parts of Montana and North Dakota, as well as the Canadian territories of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Oil was first discovered underneath the formation in the 1950s and the US Geological Survey estimates an available 7.4 million barrels of oil lie in wait under just the US portion of land. Why is it being built? Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil, has developed the project as a way to lessen US dependence on foreign oil . By creating an underground pipeline, they claim the resource can be transported in a more environmentally responsible way, as compared to having to rely on railways and transporting by truck. Economic arguments for the project include the creation of an estimated 8,000-12,000 construction jobs, as well as the amount of money that could be made on the oil. An estimated $156 million could be made in sales and income taxes by state and local governments. This would, arguably, offset the $3.7 million undertaking to bring the pipeline to life. Who is protesting its construction? The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a federally recognized tribe located on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, have filed a federal complaint against the pipeline project. They claim the construction and operation of the pipeline would destroy sites of valuable cultural and historic significance, as well as threaten “the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being.” There is also concern that digging underneath the Missouri River could impact the drinking water supply. Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, cited existing laws that require federal agencies to take these sacred sites into concern, yet that “the Army Corps has ignored all those laws and fast-tracked this massive project just to meet the pipeline’s aggressive construction schedule.” Other tribes, celebrities, and outraged citizens have joined the protests. A group of 30 environmental agencies, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club , penned a letter to President Obama demanding he axe the project, like he did with the Keystone XL Pipeline . They say the Dakota Access project is “yet another example of an oil pipeline project being permitted without public engagement or sufficient environmental review.” What is happening at these protests? Many people are first hearing about the controversy after seeing footage of protests in North Dakota turning violent. Last weekend, demonstrators from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe encountered private security officers from developer Energy Transfer Partners. These officers threatened protestors with dogs , leading to multiple people – and dogs – on both sides becoming injured. The use of pepper spray on dozens of people was also documented. The Morton County Sheriff’s Office describes the scene as a “riot,” mentioning protestors breaking through a wire fence and entering the area where construction was taking place. Tim Menz, Sr., who helped the tribe start its Tribal Historic Preservation Office, stated the bulldozers had already destroyed an ancient burial site and members were denied the opportunity to search for disturbed human remains. The Sioux Tribe’s requested the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issue a temporary restraining order against the company, yet U.S. Judge James Boasberg declined the request on Friday. A surprise announcement by the U.S. government moments later, however, revealed an override of the court’s decision and a temporary block on the pipeline’s construction. A joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army read, “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.” Why should we care? While an oil pipeline would provide construction jobs and a supply of domestic fuel, the implications of building and operating such a project extend much further. The risk of oil spills and the effects on local drinking water and larger aquatic ecosystems is enough for some to oppose a pipeline anytime and anywhere. Furthering our dependence on oil as an energy source, whether obtained domestically or abroad, also runs counter to environmentalists’ mission to grow sustainable and renewable forms of energy production. On a humanitarian level, the disregard for native people’s culture, historically significant sites, and land is a violation on an enormous scale. MSNBC’s Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell reminded viewers that the US is a nation “founded on genocide” and theft of Native people. He states, “And so we face the prospect next month of the descendants of the first people to ever set foot on that land being arrested by the descendants of the invaders who seized that land, arrested for trespassing.” Images via Wikipedia , Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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What is the Dakota Access Pipeline project? We explain…

The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

September 10, 2016 by  
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A decision by the Obama administration to temporarily block construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline this Friday gave the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other protesters cause for celebration. Just minutes after a federal judge rejected the tribe’s request for an injunction, the surprise announcement was released and the project has been halted – for now. Earlier this week, the Tribe had requested a temporary restraining order to halt the construction of the pipeline. Judge James Boasberg of the D.C. district court acknowledged the “indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries” in his ruling. Despite these considerations, the decision stated “the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.” Despair turned almost immediately into delight when, according to The Atlantic , a joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army indicated the government had stepped into override the court’s decision. “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time,” said the statement. “We request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” Related: Oil company sics attack dogs on Native American protestors in North Dakota The Army will also “reconsider any of its previous decisions” concerning the federal legality of the pipeline, including its regard for the National Environmental Policy Act. This July, the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline, followed by a lawsuit from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The biggest concerns are the destruction of historical and cultural sites and the potential risk to the community’s drinking water , should the pipeline leak or break. A statement on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Facebook account reads, “This federal statement is a game changer for the Tribe and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force DAPL to stop construction.” The move comes just days after privately contracted workers released vicious dogs and used pepper spray on the unarmed protestors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfVCKXnZu58 Via The Atlantic Images via Joe Brusky ,  Flickr , Facebook

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The U.S. government temporarily blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline

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