Standing Rock, Indian Country, score big court victory against DAPL

From protest for sending Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies to Standing Rock.

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has to shut down by Aug. 5 and the pipeline emptied of oil until the project’s environmental impact statement is finished and treaty rights and other environmental challenges are resolved, according to a court ruling today. According to the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia:

Fearing severe environmental consequences, American Indian Tribes on nearby reservations have sought for several years to invalidate federal permits allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to carry oil under the lake [Lake Oahe]. Today they finally achieve that goal — at least for the time being.

Depending on the results of a pending environmental impact statement, DAPL could be forced to shut down permanently.

Energy Transfer, a leading partner in DAPL, criticized the ruling and vowed to challenge it. The company faces problems on second front, as oil firms are trying to back out of commitments they made to ship oil on a proposed DAPL expansion.

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MN Dept. of Commerce Joins Appeal Against Enbridge Line 3, Protest at Line 3 Storage Yard, and More

More than 50 pipeline resisters met at this pipeline storage yard in a Carlton County gravel pit Thursday to call on the state to halt all Line 3 construction and pre-construction activities until all Line 3 reviews are complete. Enbridge has several such storage yards around the state that don’t have appropriate permits.

Governor Mark Dayton came out today against the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota, backing a legal challenge by the Minnesota Department of Commerce to overturn the decision of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Members of MN350, the Youth Climate Intervenors and the Sierra Club stopped by Gov. Dayton’s office today to thank his staff for his support of the Line 3 appeal.

In a decision that didn’t seem to line up with the facts, the PUC voted this summer to grant Line 3 a Certificate of Need and a Route permit. Line 3 will add significantly to climate damage and violate treaty rights. Oil spills from Line 3 could damage the Mississippi River and our clean lakes and streams. The evidence shows Minnesota doesn’t need this pipeline; it will only serve to help Canada’s foreign export efforts.

Indigenous and environmental groups have been pushing Dayton to take a stand against Line 3 for more than a year. Now in his final weeks in office, Dayton took a very positive step to stop this unnecessary project. According to his news release, he said:

“I strongly support my Commerce Department’s appeal of the Public Utilities Commission’s Order.

“Enbridge failed to provide a future demand forecast for its product, which is required by state law. Instead, the company presented its analysis of the future oil supply from Canadian tar sands extractions. It failed to demonstrate that Minnesota needs this pipeline to meet our future oil demand. In fact, most of the product would flow through our state to supply other states and countries.

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A Tale of Two Rivers: One Threatened by a Pipeline Spill, the Other Protected with Personhood

The Missouri River faces environmental threats from possible breaks in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Meanwhile, in Aotearoa (the Maori term for New Zealand) the Whanganui River, the country’s largest river, now has the legal protection of personhood status. It requires review of development projects keeping the river’s best interests in mind.

DAPL’s potential threats to the Missouri River remain shrouded in secrets. The federal government has rejected a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request which sought more details. The government’s fear seems to be that someone with access to its analysis could use it to sabotage the pipeline. Yet by implication, it also means that the government acknowledges that if the pipeline fails on its own, significant environmental damage will happen.

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DAPL Updates: Senators Press Corps of Engineers for Answers, Divestment Push Tops $5 Billion

Top democratic U.S. Senate leaders are pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for detailed information on the steps it took to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), what plans it has to provide clean drinking water in case of a pipeline rupture, and what steps it took to honor the treaty and trust obligations the government has to the Standing Rock Nation.

Thanks to the Lakota People’s Law Project for posting this information.

Senators Tom Carper (D., Delaware), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and Maria Cantwell (D., Washington), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, have sent an oversight letter to the Army Corps of Engineers demanding documentation about its rushed DAPL approval, including all communications and contact with the Trump transition team and administration.

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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.

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Breaking News: DAPL Easement Under Missouri River Expected in Days

File photo.The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is expected to get the final federal permit it needs — an easement to tunnel under the Missouri River — within days, according to the office of U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, and news reports coming out of the state.

Expect this move to trigger lawsuits and more protests around the country. The federal government already is bringing in more law enforcement to the state in anticipation of renewed protests at the construction site. 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

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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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