I haven’t seen one single post about this. None of the national news is covering it either. There is a complete media blackout.
In summary: There’s a huge oil pipeline being built in North Dakota, and it’s heading straight through sacred Native American land. Already, four thousand people are camped out there, arrests are being made, and they’ve had water taken from them in order to try and get them to disperse.
“Growing in number and spirit, the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is swiftly gaining strength ahead of a federal hearing on the controversial project. Support has spreadacross the country, and thousands have descended on the peaceful “prayer camps” in recent days, prompting state officials on Monday to remove the demonstrators’ drinking water supply.
“People are getting overheated now already,” said Johnelle Leingang, the tribe’s emergency response coordinator, as temperatures hovered around 90º F on Monday. “
North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the sweltering heat. This is because, according to law enforcement officers, the protestors were threatening them with firearms and pipe bombs.
Kirchmeier said the protest had become “unlawful” as his officers reported incidents of shots being fired, pipe bombs, vandalism and assaults on private security personnel. Construction on the pipeline near Cannon Ball has been “discontinued for the time being,” Kirchmeier said.
However, protesters denied those allegations. “Firearms and weapons are not allowed at the Sacred Stone Camp and our security has done an exemplary job at maintaining safety amongst the crowd,” according to a statement released by Sacred Stone Camp protesters with the groups Honor the Earth and the Indigenous Environmental Network. “As our camp was established on an act of prayer, we are committed to nonviolence.”
“The only thing we are armed with is with our prayers.”
The pipeline threat is real; there have been 11 pipeline accidents since 2000 on lines carrying oil or gasoline across the Dakotas. One of those pipeline accidents resulted in roughly 865,000 gallons of oil spilling beneath a farm in North Dakota in 2013.
The Dakota Access Pipeline’s planned route crosses the Missouri River which serves as the entire water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) approved 200 water crossings by the pipeline in spite of requests by the Sioux to deny construction permits. The ACOE, however, reviewed and rejected an alternate pipeline route crossing the Missouri River near Bismarck as it was deemed a threat to the municipal water supply. This looks like outright racism on the face of it; the pipeline is a threat to 92% white Bismarck, but not a sovereign Native American tribe?
The Standing Rock Sioux are challenging Army Corps of Engineers permits issued for the pipeline that tribe members say violate the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Army Corps of Engineers gave DAPL permission to build in late July, despite pending lawsuits and active local resistance.
An hour south of Bismarck, protesters have gathered since April near Cannon Ball, N.D., where Dakota Access plans to lay pipe under the Missouri River. In recent weeks, the ranks of protests swelled from several dozen to more than 800.
The heavily-policed scene has not been without incident. More than 20 people have been arrested in the last few weeks, and a roadblock guarded by state police established on Highway 1806, which leads to the protest site and the Standing Rock reservation. So not only can protestors not get things like a water supply to the protest site, but the four thousand people who are already there may be stuck.
The court hearing is on August 24, where it will be decided whether to halt the construction or not. This pipeline, if it breaks, could destroy so many people’s lives, as well as decimate the environment and wildlife around them.
A petition has been started by a youth member of the Standing Rock Sioux, you can sign it here. It already has over 200,000 signatures.
Another petition to stop the pipeline is here.
Please help to save our water.