New Map Shows DAPL Missouri River Crossing Puts Disproportionate Risk on Native American Communities; Check Out the Trahant Reports

New maps show how the Missouri River crossing for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) puts the greatest risks on those communities where Native Americans live. Jennifer Veilleux and fellow geographer Candice Landry developed maps looking at issues of environmental justice around DAPL.

Their research found that out of 485 counties in the Missouri River Basin, 48 host population that identify as Native American — “and just more than 50% of these counties are either in the path of, or downstream of, the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

The article is titled: Income Maps of the Native Americans Living in the Missouri River Basin, and here is one of the maps. Notice that once the pipeline crosses the Missouri just above the northern tip of the Standing Rock Reservation, the river flows through a series of counties which have a disproportionate number of Native American residents.

Click here for the full article. Continue reading

Lawsuits Being Readied Against North Dakota Law Enforcement, and More Stories from Indian Country Today

I spun through Indian Country Today’s news page for the past few days — so many good stories. They include articles on:

  • Lawsuits that will be pressed against law enforcement for the excessive force used against the water protectors near Standing Rock.
  • How a Native American water protector got an electoral vote for U.S. President.
  • Canada’s efforts to take action on its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and
  • How stopping one oil pipeline is winning a battle, not the war.

Below is a quick summary of each article and links to the full text. (And consider bookmarking Indian Country Today on your browser.) Continue reading

Water Protectors Lack Needed Legal Help in Court; Updates on Pipeline Leaks; Upcoming Event: Storytelling and Winter Gathering

Hundreds of water protectors were arrested trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, and now that their court dates are coming up they don’t have adequate legal defense, according to an article in Think Progress. The article, published Dec. 15, starts out:

Trials for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters begin next week, but there aren’t enough attorneys to take their cases. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department lists 264 people who have no lawyer at all, and the 265 people who have been assigned public defense attorneys aren’t receiving adequate counsel.

Continue reading

Gov. Dalrymple’s Op/Ed on DAPL Offers Finger Pointing Instead of Leadership

Recently retired North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple
Recently retired North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple

I read with sadness retiring North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s Op/Ed piece in the Star Tribune “Dakota Access pipeline: Mob rule triumphed over law and common sense.”

In the piece, Dalrymple reduces the story to one of North Dakota as victim to environmental agitators and outsiders “that have never before shown much interest in our state.” That is a convenient political frame, as it reduces pipeline opponents to “other” or “enemy.”

Despite Dalrymple’s assertions, this is not a story about outside environmental agitators indifferent to North Dakota. This is a story of a people who have faced a long history of suffering, broken promises, and injustices and are facing them again. This is a story of national concern about the Dakota Access Pipeline that involves everyone from religious leaders to Wall Street.

And that’s a story Dalrymple apparently doesn’t want to discuss.

What is needed now is not a fictional story blaming outsiders for all the problems. What is needed now is leadership to bring about dialogue, understanding, and healing.

That is a role I wish Dalrymple had chosen to play.

Let’s take a look at his analysis. It has a very familiar ring.

Continue reading

DAPL Faces Deadline and Funding Pressure; More Criticism of DAPL from Financial Markets; New ND Gov Update

The Sierra Club has come out with a helpful update on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), filling in some of the details about the financial pressures and deadlines DAPL faces. To sum it up quickly, DAPL is unlikely to move forward until the Trump administration takes office Jan. 21, and even then it “may not be a simple feat.” And DAPL could start losing key contracts by Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, DAPL is facing criticism from the financial sector. Continue reading

DAPL’s Financial Risks Raise Red Flags on Wall Street; Banks Behind DAPL Hire Independent Human Rights Expert

(Credit: Wikimedia)
(Credit: Wikimedia)

We wrote Thursday about how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is engaged in shareholder advocacy around the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The ELCA is one of several religious organizations raising moral questions of corporate social responsibility regarding DAPL.

In a new turn of events, Wall Street, too, is raising red flags about DAPL. Financial markets are simply looking at the bottom line, apparently becoming skittish of companies investing in the pipeline because of unidentified financial risks. They are asking tough questions, according to Bloomberg, a business news service.

The following is an excerpt from a Dec. 1 Bloomberg story headlined: Investors Take Stand on Dakota Access Pipeline:

Investors concerned about the Dakota Access Pipeline have started submitting shareholder proposals to the energy companies building the pipeline as well as to the lenders behind it, urging the companies to better disclose the risks to their business from the controversial investment.

The third largest U.S. pension plan, the $178.6 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, is one of the investors leading the charge.

Click on the link above for the full story. It’s hard to know how optimistic to be about these reports, but we’ll take the good news where we can get it.

Meanwhile, companies providing credit for the pipeline seem concerned about potential risks, too. For more positive news, keep reading. Continue reading

ELCA Brings Shareholder Resolution on DAPL to Enbridge, a Major Pipeline Investor

This is the first in a series of blogs exploring how religious communities who are Standing with Standing Rock are reviewing their investments for ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Will their investments change?

ELCAThe Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has taken a formal position supporting the Standing Rock Nation and its opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). It also is flexing its financial muscle, looking at how its investments are supporting DAPL and asking tough questions of Enbridge, a major DAPL investor.

There is a growing effort to get individuals and institutions to divest from companies tied to DAPL. Divesting is one option outside of the political arena where people can make a difference and vote their values with their money.

The ELCA is a large institutional investor, socking away money for retirement plans for its many employees. It’s the kind of big investor that can influence a corporation. As of the third quarter of 2016, the ELCA had $7.8 billion managed by Portico Benefit Services. (Of that, $6.4 billion was in retirement plans).

The ELCA’s  investments include Enbridge Inc. “whose U.S. vehicle, Enbridge Energy Partners, owns a 27.5% interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline project,” according to Rev. Jeff Thiemann, Portico’s President and CEO. According to a statement Rev. Thiemann made to Healing Minnesota Stories on Dec. 8:

Portico just this week, along with several other investors, submitted a shareholder resolution to Enbridge Inc. [regarding DAPL] … This resolution calls on Enbridge to prepare a report to shareholders detailing the due diligence process used by Enbridge, its affiliates, and subsidiaries to identify and address social and environmental risks, including Indigenous rights risks, when reviewing potential acquisitions.

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DAPL Update: Nonviolent Peaceforce Sends Team to North Dakota, Will Train More Volunteers

Between court challenges and cold weather, the conflicts around the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are in a temporary lull. Still, the Water Protectors’ civil disobedience has stirred increased hostility toward Native Americans in the region. They are experiencing harassment and threats in the Mandan/Bismarck area, according to the group Nonviolent Peaceforce.

Nonviolent Peaceforce is responding with plans to send unarmed, nonviolent civilian protectors to try to open constructive dialogue. The group’s mission is to “protect civilians in violent conflicts through unarmed strategies,” and “build peace side by side with local communities,” according to its website. It has headquarters in Brussels and the Twin Cities.

Until now, Nonviolent Peaceforce only has worked in foreign countries. It currently has teams in the Philippines, South Sudan, Myanmar and the Middle East. Its work in North Dakota will be the first time it has a presence on U.S. soil.

According to an email announcement:

As our supporters, you have asked us many times, “When will [Nonviolent Peaceforce] start working in the US?” That time has come.

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Breaking: Pipeline Spill Within 150 Miles of Standing Rock Only Reinforces Fears

CNBC is reporting the following this afternoon: Pipeline spills 176,000 gallons of crude into creek about 150 miles from Dakota Access protest camp:

A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline. …

North Dakota officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek. State environmental scientist Bill Suess says a landowner discovered the spill on Dec. 5 near the city of Belfield, which is roughly 150 miles from the epicenter of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps.

More articles follow: CityLab;s “30 Years of Oil Spills” and MPR’s “In their own words: The ‘water protectors’ of Standing Rock.” Continue reading

Videos From and About Standing Rock, and Tribal Victory in Creating the “Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area”

hcmc3Below are links to some videos from and about Standing Rock. There are inspiring interviews with Water Protectors. There is a short interview with a 13-year-old youth leader from Standing Rock right after she learned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) easement. And if you haven’t seen it, there is a link to the Daily Show’s biting take on DAPL. The post ends with an uplifting report from the Native American Rights Fund on the creation of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. Continue reading