Saturday, November 5, 2016

"North Dakota Pipeline Poisons Water for Multi-National Investor Profits"--Ken Previti

"I protest over a thousand miles away from the water savers in North Dakota, but my heart is with them. Native Americans will have their sole source of water poisoned in order to profit private multinational investors. It is not a matter of WILL there be a pipeline leak; it is a matter of WHEN there will be pipeline leak"--Ken Previti

From Joseph Erbentraut of The Huffington Post: 

When and why did the protests start? 

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has led the protest effort against the pipeline. In its lawsuit naming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which approved permits to allow the pipeline to cross the Missouri River, the tribe cited a “high risk that culturally and historically significant sites will be damaged or destroyed” and its fear for the safety of its drinking water supply. The tribe asked for a temporary injunction against construction. 

A federal judge denied the injunction in early September, though the Department of Justice, the Army and the Department of the Interior moved the same day to halt construction within 20 miles of “Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe” while the case remains under federal review. The agencies have not commented on the pipeline since then. 

Who exactly is protesting?

Protesters from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been joined by supporters from other tribes and many non-Native American allies, both at the protest camp in North Dakota and in solidarity demonstrations throughout the world. Actor Mark Ruffalo and civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson also joined protesters at the reservation last week.

Other high-profile supporters, including actress Shailene Woodley, reporter Amy Goodman and documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, have either been arrested or faced charges for participating in or documenting the demonstrations.

What do the protesters want exactly?

The protesters want to see construction of the pipeline halted entirely and its route changed. They point to a rising number of pipeline accidents in recent years as evidence that they are right to be concerned about the safety of their water source. 

“These pipelines are often seeping or leaking in small places, and we don’t have any way to detect them,” Doug Hayes, a staff attorney at the Sierra Club, told The Huffington Post in September. “These are the types of concerns the tribes have, and they’re, frankly, very well-founded.”
Such concerns were part of the reason why the pipeline’s original route, which passed near Bismarck, the state’s capital, was abandoned.

The tribe and its supporters also believe they were not properly consulted concerning the project’s effect on sacred sites and burial grounds. 

What does the pipeline developer say about that?

Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, defended the project in a September letter, downplaying its cultural impact and calling the protesters’ water safety concerns “unfounded.”

How are local authorities treating the protesters?

Just over 400 arrests have taken place at the pipeline construction site since the protests began. The arrests have typically been on charges such as criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. 

Protesters have accused local law enforcement of using pepper spray, tear gas and beanbag rounds on them and responding to peaceful demonstrations, pipe ceremonies and prayer circles with militarized force. 

Last Thursday alone, 141 protesters were arrested when authorities cleared a new front-line camp that blocked the pipeline path, on land owned by the pipeline developer. The protesters, however, claimed eminent domain to the land under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie with the Sioux.

The show of force prompted Amnesty International to send a team of observers to monitor how law enforcement is handling the protests. A United Nations group is also investigating the tribe’s allegations that law enforcement is using excessive force and committing other human rights violations.

What’s going to happen next?

The protesters appear to be dedicated to continuing their demonstrations even as the weather gets colder. A tribal leader told the Guardian that the group is preparing for “the last stand.”

It appears law enforcement is also preparing for the long haul. The Bismarck Tribune reported Tuesday that the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services will receive $4 million in additional funding it requested to support its response to the protests. This funding is on top of $6 million the department has already received for this purpose.

Meanwhile, construction on the North Dakota portion of the pipeline is nearing completion and quickly advancing toward the Missouri River. 

The pipeline developers are now awaiting a federal permit to dig under the river, a decision that could come any day now. President Barack Obama said in a Tuesday interview with NowThis that the Army Corps of Engineers is examining whether it can reroute the pipeline to address the concerns of the tribe and its supporters.

As the Seattle Times noted, if the pipeline is not completed and moving oil by Jan. 1, the developer’s contracts with shippers could expire.


    The Native Americans have had this thrust upon them because the white citizens of other areas would not accept the imminent dangers involved. The North Dakota Pipeline is and act of institutionalized racism.

  2. Yes--it was a no-go in Bismarck.

    Ironically, November is Native American Heritage Month. If you Google it, you'll find an article--w/a picture of POTUS in full Native American dress--proclaiming this month to be N.A.H.M.

    Goes w/o saying, better he use his executive powers to stop this egregious attack.