U.S. Army okays Dakota Access pipeline without environmental review

From Lakota People’s Law Project

February 7, 2017

As you may have heard, today the Army Corps of Engineers notified Congress that it intends to override the environmental review process for the Dakota Access Pipeline, end the public comment period, and grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement they require to drill under Lake Oahe.

We expect everything to move ahead very quickly. They could try to resume drilling in as few as 48 hours. Fortunately, environmental organizations and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have both vowed to continue this fight in the courts.

Moving forward, the twin battle to safeguard Mother Earth and preserve Native sovereignty will be fought on two fronts: in the water protectors’ camps at Standing Rock and in the courtrooms.

Today, the Trump administration threw down the gauntlet. Today, our movement must hold together and strengthen itself in the face of the president’s onslaught. We will not be silenced!

Here are two actions you can take right now:

  1. If you have not already done so, email your representatives today! We have a form you can use at http://lakotalaw.org/dapl-action
  2. Invest in the movement by donating to Lakota People’s Law Project and sharing our prayerful message. Grow the movement to end DAPL.
    http://lakotalaw.org/donate

In Solidarity,

Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project legal counsel

P.S. For those who haven’t heard, last Friday I was released from jail after spending two nights behind bars. Morton County is charging me with “inciting a riot,” a felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison. This movement is not a riot. It is a historic stand. This was a clear attempt by the county government to intimidate and silence our brothers and sisters on the front lines. We will continue to prayerfully and peacefully resist this pipeline, and we will use every avenue at our disposal to prevent the passage of the Black Snake through our sacred lands.

Lakota People’s Law Project
A Project of the Romero Institute
740 Front St. Suite 265 Santa Cruz, Ca
info@lakotalaw.org – (831) 459-6135

http://lakotalaw.org

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#DefundDAPL campaign: divest from the banks that fund the pipeline

Divestiture goes far beyond just this one project. It takes money out of the system that funds so much suffering for the sake of profit.

From Defund DAPL

Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Join the divestiture movement.

http://www.defunddapl.org/

Move your money  http://www.defunddapl.org/defund

From Yes Magazine:

Of the U.S. banks, Wells Fargo is the second-largest DAPL financier, having committed $467 million, and so far has borne the brunt of divestments from Indian Country. (Citibank is the largest DAPL financier.)

,,,

On the night of Nov. 20, when law-enforcement officers used tear gas and water cannons as part of their assault on unarmed water protectors, Janene Yazzie, a research associate in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona, decided she could not remain silent. Armed with the Shiprock resolutions, she’s been actively lobbying the executive and legislative branches of Navajo Nation to divest.

“As a Navajo Woman,” she wrote in an email, “watching the videos on social media disturbed me to my core. They captured proof that the so-called ‘Indian Wars’ have never ended but are, rather, coming to a culmination.” Continued banking with DAPL-invested institutions “fuels systemic injustice,” in her view, and puts “the blood of our relatives on our own hands.”

“Continued banking with DAPL-invested institutions fuels systemic injustice.”

In Idaho, acting quickly after the Standing Rock Sioux’s call for divestment, the Nez Perce tribe withdrew millions from Wells Fargo on the grounds that the bank’s investment in DAPL was “inconsistent with the views and policies of the Nez Perce.” Mary Jane Miles, chair of the tribe’s executive committee, explained why they divested:

“I feel that tribal nations need to support each other in their efforts to remind the big companies of our stewardship responsibility. Our voice needs to be heard, and if there is any way that we can enhance our position we need to do so. The Nez Perce tribe supported their sister nation in other ways as well, such as tribal members voluntarily traveling to the site to camp in the bitter cold. The protest was well warranted in our worldview and was supported in all the ways we felt was necessary,” Miles wrote.

Rudolph Ryser, a member of the Cowlitz Tribe and board chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a research and education organization, wants Indians everywhere to follow the lead of the Nez Perce.

“It is no longer tenable for the leaders of American Indian [tribes], Canadian Indian [tribes], and Indian leaders throughout the Americas to operate as if the leaders of hemispheric nations can or will act in responsible ways toward the indigenous people or the living earth. Fourth World nations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific are in a strong position to apply pressure on investors in the Dakota pipeline banks.”

Ryser hopes to see tribes act in unison for greater impact, banding together to “demand investment changes or withdraw funds.”

The nuts and bolts of divestment are easy to accomplish, Rapp explained.

“It’s very simple,” she said. “Establish an account with another financial institution that meets your political and social needs. The tribal council signs the transfer form, and it’s done. The new institution will request the funds be transferred, and that’s all there is to it.”

Lists of non-DAPL invested banks are being circulated, and Native-owned banks are being promoted as alternatives to the 17 U.S. banks invested in DAPL.

“The Standing Rock Sioux continue to encourage and applaud divestment.”

The Standing Rock Sioux continue to encourage and applaud divestment. On Jan. 16, Indigenous Environmental Network released a focused statement on recent efforts to influence DAPL banks to renegotiate or cancel their loans. It’s likely to rev up the divestment engine. A billboard in Times Square broadcasts the rolling tally of self-reported dollars already divested (more than $55 million now); it’s also reported on the Defund DAPL website.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/defund-dapl-spreads-across-indian-country-as-tribes-divest-20170202

Here’s what Trump’s decision means for the Dakota Access Pipeline; new wave of protests after Trump signs executive action

From Grist


This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the pipeline industry have been locked in bitter dispute over the Dakota Access Pipeline. The 1,172-mile pipeline is nearly finished, except for a section that would cross under Lake Oahe, which the tribe relies on for water. But this week, they were on the same page: They agree Trump’s executive actions will likely lead to authorizations first for the Dakota Access Pipeline and then other big projects.

On Tuesday, the president signed a memorandum instructing the U.S. Army and the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate, requests for approvals to construct and operate (the Dakota Access Pipeline).” It also directs the Army to “consider, to the extent permitted by law,” whether to rescind the Obama administration memorandum that stalled construction last month. Following that memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the agency on Jan. 18 issued its notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and asked for public comment due Feb. 20 before deciding whether to allow an easement needed to complete construction. The Trump memorandum also asked the Army to consider dropping that environmental impact statement.

Trump’s presidential memorandum on the Dakota Access Pipeline is full of legal language and doesn’t directly order the permit necessary for the pipeline to be completed. Still both sides concede that it paves the way for the pipeline to go ahead, probably more effectively than a direct order would have.

Industry representatives say the muted language will make it harder for successful legal challenges once the Army approves the pipeline. The president also signed another memorandum in support of reviving the Keystone XL pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, and an executive order mandating that environmental reviews of infrastructure be expedited. “They did it for strategic reasons,” says John Stoody, a vice president of the Association of Oil Pipelines. “While the memorandums look vaguer on the surface (than directly ordering an easement), they’re actually stronger legally and have a better chance in resulting in a positive outcome.” Industry officials heralded Trump’s actions as an early indication that a new era of job-creating infrastructure projects has dawned.

The Standing Rock Sioux’s chief lawyer, Jan Hasselman, says under a straightforward reading of Trump’s Dakota Access Pipeline memorandum, the Corps should still go forward with the full environmental impact statement and additional consultation with the tribe as ordered by the Army. That would take many months. “Do I think that’s what’s going to happen? No,” Hasselman, an attorney for Earthjustice, conceded.

One strong point in Trump’s favor, industry officials say, is that even the Obama administration argued that the Army had been on sound legal footing when it initially conducted a streamlined environmental review instead of the full study it’s now planning. “The last administration itself admitted it comported with the law,” Stoody says.

Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy made this point when announcing the decision to stall the pipeline to conduct an environmental impact statement and further consult with the tribe. “I want to be clear that this decision does not alter the Army’s decision that the Corps’ prior reviews and actions comported with legal requirements,” Darcy wrote in a memorandum Dec. 4. “Rather, my decision acknowledges and addresses that a more robust analysis of alternatives can and should be done under these circumstances, before an easement is granted for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River on Corps land.”

If, as expected, the Corps approves the easement, the tribe intends to challenge it in court. Hasselman underscored that Trump’s memorandum doesn’t mention the tribe, its treaty rights, or its concerns about water quality. “This is another action in a long history of sidestepping treaty rights and trampling on the rights of indigenous people,” he said. “If this is how the Trump administration is going to be approaching issues in Indian country, it’s going to be a long four years.”

Dave Archambault II, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told reporters that he had repeatedly tried to speak with the Trump administration but was rebuffed.

The tribe got the attention of the Obama administration last year after thousands of protesters gathered in and near the reservation to protest the pipeline plans. Now, the tribe has asked demonstrators to leave by Feb. 18, because of concerns for their health and welfare. “We’re asking that the camp be cleared. We’re asking that people don’t come,” Archambault said during a conference call Wednesday with reporters. “The fight is now in D.C.”

Archambault called on the public to stand up and for civil servants to resist the Trump administration, warning that many more attacks on the environment and people’s rights are on the way. “Now we have to go and make noise where we can be heard.”

Here’s what Trump’s decision means for the Dakota Access Pipeline

From Lakota People’s Law Project Report
January 27, 2017

President Donald Trump has given the green light to streamline construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. His decision is not surprising given that his cabinet picks are full of pro-oil candidates like Exxon Mobil executive Rex Tillerson and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The pipeline construction in its current proposition has been found to understate the risks posed by landslides and amount of safety construction to contain spills. Such spills are most likely going to poison groundwater that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe needs to sustain itself. If the pipeline construction is complete, Standing Rock could be the next Flint, where residents have to use bottled water for daily use.

This executive action overturns all the work water protectors have made recently under the Obama administration, and which is unfortunate because the Standing Rock Sioux tribe formally asked the encampments to disperse on Friday, January 20th according to Reuters. While Archambault stated that the fight is now in the courts, the tribe needs support and solidarity now more than ever.

This unfortunate turn of events overshadows the recent victory of the water protectors in the North Dakota Supreme Court, which allowed for out-of-state lawyers to represent the over 600 protesters that have been arrested so far . With arrests still ongoing, this number is likely to rise.

President Trump’s actions have not fallen on deaf ears, however. Various representatives of environmental groups and civil rights groups, including the ACLU and the Sierra Club, have all voiced their opposition to this revival of pipeline construction.

Activists like Chase Iron Eyes, Lead Attorney for the Lakota People’s Law Project, have been especially active in standing against these actions. On Facebook posted:

Fighters, brothers and sisters. Come. Heed the call to defend this country against all enemies, foreign & domestic. We shall find out who loves this land, who is loyal to the water and who is a traitor to this land, to our water.”

Protests have also occurred in New York outside of Trump Tower and Trump International Hotel—attendance numbering in the hundreds—to show the President that these actions will not go on without consequence.

As the situation intensifies, people are again diverting their attention to the confrontation in Standing Rock. Chairman of the United Nations (UN) Working Group on the issue of Human Rights, Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises, Pavel Sulyandziga, and Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have both arrived in North Dakota. These two gentlemen will be joined by representatives of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) as well as the ACLU Human Rights Program who participated in a human rights training workshop on Sunday January 22nd.

The water protectors still have a long battle ahead of them. In addition to the frigid weather, the state of North Dakota has introduced bills that make it illegal to wear masks at protests and for people to join the resistance camps  under threat of being fined $5,000 dollars.  Oh but what the North Dakota assembly attempted to make legal, by way of a bill introduction, is the “unintentional” mowing down of protesters being fast moving vehicles.

If these actions are not enough to make you cringe, the Trump administration denied a request by Dave Archambault II to engage in dialogue about moving forward with the oil pipeline. If the President is not even willing to hear both sides of the issue he is essentially declaring what side he stands for.

The fight to protect the water rights and the livelihoods of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is far from over. We must remain vigilant in this crucial time and do everything we can to stand in solidarity with those who have vowed to protect the land, tribal sovereignty, and clean water.

Please add your comment to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Impact Statement at lakotalaw.org.dapl-action before the filing period ends on Feb. 20.

http://ourchildrenaresacred.org/new-wave-of-protests-after-trump-signs-executive-action-for-dapl-completion/