Army Corps Abruptly Ends DAPL Environmental Review; More Pressure Brought Against Pipeline’s Financial Backers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has prematurely scuttled the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a move both expected and discouraging. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and thousands of Japanese protestors have joined the push to divest from the banks backing the pipeline, the Standing Rock Nation is struggling from declining casino revenues, and the FBI investigates DAPL protestors as potential terrorists.

Continue reading

The Sad Story on How North Dakota’s Religious Leaders Are Mostly Ignoring Native Concerns About DAPL

Rev. John Floberg has served as an Episcopal priest on the Standing Rock Reservation for a quarter century. He is one of few religious leaders in North Dakota to play an active role in supporting the water protectors camps and listening to people’s concerns, according to a story in the Bismarck Tribune.

Floberg was the one who invited clergy from around the country to come to the camps last fall, an event that drew around 500 leaders of different faiths to support Standing Rock in its efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). He continues working to support relationships between Native and non-Native peoples, for instance, giving gift cards to his Native American congregants so they can eat with non-native friends in Bismarck-Mandan. Floberg said it was his 25 years on the reservation that gave him the understanding on how to stand his ground in this contentious situation.

Other than the backstory on Floberg, this is a sad article. The Bismarck Tribune reports:

Though support and endorsements have flooded in from religious institutions around the world, few Christian leaders on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and in North Dakota took an active role. In fact, Floberg was nearly unique in his activism. …

More broadly in North Dakota, the only churches to take on an active role have been the Unitarian Universalists in Bismarck and the Presentation Sisters in Fargo, according to Karen von Fassen, of the UU church. Some did partake individually by coming to rallies or participating in interfaith prayer events.

To be fair, this is a very polarizing issue in North Dakota, not an easy issue for religious leaders to address. (Locally, compare it to the difficult conversations in congregations around Black Lives Matter protesting at Mall of America or blocking  freeways to highlight police shootings.) Yet this is where faith gets tested. Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

DAPL Protestors Get Unusually High Fines, Jury Finds Actions Had No Legitimate Purpose

A ruling in a Morton County, North Dakota courtroom shows how people in our nation live in very different worlds and how much work we have ahead to find common understandings of fairness and decency.

A Morton County jury found eight Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters guilty of disorderly conduct, according to a story in the Bismarck Tribune. The court fined them between $1,250 and $1,685 each. Their crimes included such actions as “sitting on a gravel access road built by the company, pushing into law enforcement and standing in the road,” the story said.

Defense attorney Alex Reichert told the judge that a $1,000 fine was more than he’d seen imposed for this type of crime in his 20-year legal career. …

The fines came after a request from Ladd Erickson, a special prosecutor for Morton County, who contends the protesters wanted to inflict harm on the state, people and police.

Continue reading

The Legal Arguments for Stopping DAPL, and More Updates

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) news summary:

  • MPR reviews the legal arguments that could be used to force the government to continue the environmental review of DAPL, a process the story said could delay the project for up to two more years. However, the headline questions whether this is the “beginning of the end.”
  • Indian Country Today is asking whether U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) was mislead or intentionally misleading when he announced Wednesday that approval of the DAPL easement was just days away.
  • Three U.S. Senators write President Trump to ask him to engage in meaningful consultation with the Standing Rock Nation.
  • The city of Seattle will vote on ending its business relationship with Wells Fargo over DAPL.

For details, keep reading.

Continue reading

76 Water Protectors Arrested; Requests for Action, Donations

Seventy-six people were arrested as they tried to establish a new camp to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) according to a story today in the Bismarck Tribune. Among those arrested was Chase Iron Eyes, a former Congresssional candidate and legal counsel with the Lakota People’s Law Project. Those arrested have been spread out to five different North Dakota county jails.

The story said the arrests took place on private property located on the west side of N.D. Highway 1806, on top of a hill across from the main Oceti Sakowin camp.

A webinar organized by NoDAPL Solidarity.org provided additional details, including suggested actions and requests for donations to support those who were arrested. Continue reading

Trump’s DAPL Order: What it Says, What’s Next, and Ways to Respond

From Mears Park rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
From Mears Park rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

By now, you’ve heard that President Trump signed an executive memorandum to put the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on the fast track. He also signed an executive order that will weaken environment reviews for a number of infrastructure projects.

Below are links to the verbatim language that Trump signed, a brief look at what’s coming next, and what you can do to stop the pipeline, including tweeting the President and weighing in on the current DAPL environmental impact statement. Continue reading

Standing Rock Council Votes to Close Camps; Great Turnout at Black Snake Resistance March

The Standing Rock Nation’s Tribal Council held an emergency meeting Friday and voted unanimously to close all of the water protector camps within 30 days, including the main Oceti Sakowin camp, according to an article in Indian County Today.

It appears that renewed violence triggered the decision:

The evacuation decision was made following a week of renewed clashes between police and pipeline protesters who call themselves water protectors. Since Monday, January 16, 35 people have been arrested from demonstrations, or actions, carried out at various sites blocking access to the pipeline drill pad, bringing the total number of arrests to 624 since August 10.

Click on the link above for full details. Keep reading for photos from the Black Snake Resistance March Continue reading

DAPL, Standing Rock are Becoming National Metaphor and Model

p1010103Standing Rock is becoming a national model for opposing oil pipelines. Read a story about a oil pipeline controversy in other parts of the country and it will reference DAPL or Standing Rock.

For example, here is a Jan. 4 story from Folio Weekly, a Florida-based magazine, with the headline: Florida’s Own STANDING ROCK. It concerns the Sabal Trail Transmission, a gas pipeline that crosses Alabama, Georgia and Florida. According to the story:

The $3.2 billion project crosses 13 counties in Florida and more than 700 bodies of water, including the Withlacoochee, Suwannee, and Santa Fe rivers. The EPA approved the project despite its concerns about the pipeline’s path through 177 acres of conservation areas, including the Green Swamp and Rainbow Springs in Florida. …

Similar to Standing Rock, people in Florida worry about the potential leaks and their impact on drinking water. Pipeline opponents have adopted the Standing Rock term “water protectors” and created a Water Is Life Camp near the Santa Fe River.

Wisconsin’s Chippewa Tribe also is fighting a pipeline battle, according to a Jan. 6 MPR story:

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s tribal council voted Wednesday to refuse to renew several easement rights of way for Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline that expired in 2013….

The Bad River Band’s decision comes amid an ongoing protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline in which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes have argued the project threatens drinking water and tribal cultural sites.

Click on the story for details.

More updates on DAPL and environmental justice issues follow. Continue reading

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