Free, Prior and Informed Consent: A DAPL Dispute

A great point of contention in the dispute over the Dakota Access Pipeline is whether or not the Standing Rock Nation had the opportunity to be consulted on the pipeline.

The Standing Rock Nation said it did not give its informed consent to the project. The pipeline owners said Standing Rock missed its chance by not engaging in conversation sooner.

However, it appears that Standing Rock did raise objections early in the process, a fact that is only recently coming to light. It undermines the pipeline company’s position.

Let’s try to sort it out.

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DAPL Owners Seek Court Order to Drill Under the Missouri River; ND Maintains Highway Blockade Raising Safety Concerns; Toy Drive for Standing Rock Children

From protest for sending Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies to Standing Rock.
File photo: Protest for sending Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies to Standing Rock.

Energy Transfer Partners isn’t waiting for the Trump administration to green light the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), it is seeking a federal court ruling to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve it. Meanwhile, in blizzard conditions, the state of North Dakota is maintaining a blockade of the highway north of the Oceti Sakowin camp. This is endangering safety by making it more difficult for people to leave who want to leave.

A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning to take up Energy Transfer Partners’ request to drill under the Missouri River to complete that section of DAPL, according to a story in Market Watch. (In spite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to deny the  easement, Energy Transfer Partners said it had done everything it was supposed to for the approval.) Even though President-elect Trump has expressed his support for DAPL, the company doesn’t want to wait for his inauguration. According to Market Watch:

Analysts say Energy Transfer Partners has two potential reasons to seek a faster resolution: It is losing millions of dollars due to delays, and a longer wait could scuttle a $2 billion deal to sell a stake in the pipeline.

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Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet Stand with Standing Rock; #DivestFromDAPL Targets City of Minneapolis; and More

carondelet-logoThe Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet have issued a powerful Statement of Solidarity with the Native Peoples of Standing Rock.

The Order includes 1,102 vowed sisters worldwide. The statement expresses their commitment “to stand in solidarity with our Native American sisters and brothers, especially of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.” Issued Nov. 30, it continues: “We stand with the community of Standing Rock … in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline and their peaceful efforts to protect their water and sovereignty.”

A number of Protestant denominations have issued such statements. (They are archived on our page on the Dakota Access Pipeline.) This is the first statement we have seen from a Catholic order.

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Sami, Indigenous People of Northern Europe, Played Role in DAPL Divestment

Sápmi is the name of the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Sápmi is the name of the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A second Norwegian bank has pulled its funding from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), according to a Nov. 25 story in EcoWatch. Odin Fund Management, one of Norway’s leading fund managers, said it sold $23.8 million worth of shares in companies involved with the pipeline.

We blogged earlier that DNB, Norway’s largest bank, had decided to divest its assets from DAPL (though it still has a line of credit to the project).

Why Norway?

Norway is an ocean and a half-continent away from Standing Rock. Is it that Norway is simply a more  socially-minded country? Perhaps. But there also is a fascinating backstory that could be part of the explanation. The Sámi people, indigenous people of northern Europe, seem to have played an important role in pressuring DNB to divest.

It’s a story of cross Atlantic indigenous connections and a bit of serendipity. Continue reading

A Day of Many Messages: DAPL’s Owners Vow to Fight On; Standing Rock Leader Says Time to Break Camp; Signs of Victory, Uncertainty, and Worry Abound

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Moon rise at Oceti Sakowin earlier this fall.

Native rights and environmental groups are sending out congratulatory emails today on the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are celebrating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to deny an easement to Energy Transfer Partners to drill the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River. The Corps said it would explore alternative routes.

The question now is, What’s next?

The companies which own the Dakota Access Pipeline have sent out a blistering media release vowing to push head with the current project.

Standing Rock Tribal Chair Dave Archambault is telling the Water Protectors to break camp and go home for the winter, according to reports. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also set today as the deadline for people at the Oceti Sakowin Camp — which is on federal property — to leave

Yet many people at the camp don’t trust that the project will stop and are going to stay anyway.

Further, key pipeline players will change soon, both the Governor of North Dakota and the president of the United States. That throws everything up in the air.

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Breaking: Army Corps of Engineers Denies DAPL Easement

In a story with the headline: Federal government blocks Dakota Access oil pipeline route, the Star Tribune reports the following:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that it won’t grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters, who argued the project would threaten a water source and cultural sites.

North Dakota’s leaders criticized the decision, with Gov. Jack Dalrymple calling it a “serious mistake” that “prolongs the dangerous situation” …

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Should Obama Intervene in DAPL? A Word of Caution

sign-2-daplThe pressure is ramping up on President Obama to intervene in the Dakota Access Pipeline. For example, I recently received an email from MoveOn.org urging me to call the President: “President Obama has the power to stop the pipeline and deny the Army Corps of Engineers’ easement on our land. He must take action immediately. Will you call President Obama now?” the email asked.

But at this point in the process, does the President have that power? What is the President’s appropriate role? It’s more complicated than it seems on the surface. Continue reading