DAPL Updates: Veterans Stand to Redeploy; First Legal Challenge to Easement, and More

Work on the last segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is restarting after the federal government reversed course and approved the last easement. The drilling under the Missouri River will take 60 days to complete, and it will take another 23 days to fill the pipeline, according to a Thursday story in Indian Country Media Network.

Here are updates on the effort to stop DAPL.

  • The group Veterans Stand is raising money to help pay for transportation and supplies for veterans to return to the site of the DAPL construction and show their support for water protectors.
  • The Cheyenne River Sioux have filed the first legal action to try to overturn DAPL easement under the Missouri River.
  • A judge rejects DAPL opponents request to make law enforcement stop using “excessive force.”

Veterans Stand Sending Smaller Group to North Dakota

CNN reported Thursday evening that: Veterans unite for second ‘deployment’ against Dakota Access Pipeline.

Veterans are prepared to continue the fight against the pipeline. Michael Wood Jr., founder of Veterans Stand, said new efforts are more focused on supporting the camps in any way possible. “It is unlikely that we will send a mass group of people like before,” Wood told CNN. “The biggest misconception is that Veterans Stand wants to do anything aggressive in response. People want to do something and they just don’t know what to do. We just want to give people a platform.”

The most recent post on the Veterans Stand Facebook Page, Jan. 27, says that

In the past two weeks the turmoil and uncertainty at Standing Rock has increased significantly. We have continued to stay in contact with indigenous and camp leadership and have identified several areas where the Veterans Stand network can continue to serve the needs of the camp and local community. We are launching this second GoFundMe to create a Standing Rock Fund to address the ongoing needs at Standing Rock and our network of partners in camp.

What isn’t clear from the story is whether the Standing Rock Nation itself supports this move by Veterans Stand or not. The answer likely is no. The Standing Rock Tribal Council voted in January to close all camps, according to a story in Indian Country Media Network. The deadline for camps to close is Thursday Feb. 16, according to a story in the Bismarck Tribune, though there is a last-minute effort to get another vote on the matter.)

Legal Challenges to DAPL Easement

ABC News reported Thursday afternoon that Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Files 1st Legal Challenge Over Dakota Access Pipeline Easement.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which has joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit against the pipeline, filed a motion at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this morning seeking a temporary restraining order “to halt construction and drilling” under and on either side of the land surrounding Lake Oahe. The tribe argues that the pipeline “will desecrate the waters upon which Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members rely for their most important religious practices and therefore substantially burden the free exercise of their religion,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

The story in Indian Country Media Network said Standing Rock also had filed a suit to stop the drilling. It quoted Tribal Chair David Archambault II saying: “We’re running out of options, but that doesn’t mean that it’s over.”

Judge: Law Enforcement Did Not Use Excessive Force

The Washington Times reported Tuesday: Judge rejects Dakota Access activists’ request to stop ‘excessive force’ by police.

Activists sought a temporary injunction against the Morton County Sheriff’s Department from using excessive force such as water cannons, tear gas, concussion grenades, or rubber bullets, the story said.

The judge said videos from the night [Nov. 20-21] showed “a very chaotic scenario” that included brush fires set nearby, but that protesters had been warned repeatedly to leave the bridge and they were free to retreat at any time. …

“[T]he majority of the protesters are non-violent,” he said. “However, it is clear and undisputed there are a sizeable minority of protesters who can best be categorized as a group of unlawful and violent agitators who are masked up; terrorize law enforcement officers with taunting, threats and acts of violence; and whose primary purpose is to simply create chaos and mayhem. To describe these agitators as ‘peaceful and prayerful’ defies common sense.”

For more details, click on the story links above.

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